Norfolk

World War Two Grenadier Guard veteran wears uniform for birthday

Leonard Boxall Image copyright Regimental Association of the Granadier Guards,
Image caption During Leonard Boxall's 12 years of service he only got to wear the khaki uniform

A World War Two veteran has achieved his lifetime wish to wear the red ceremonial uniform of his regiment as he approaches his 100th birthday.

Leonard Boxall, 99, of Norfolk, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1939 because he liked the red jacket and bearskin hat.

But during his 12 years of service he only wore the khaki uniform, as first reported in the Eastern Daily Press.

His family found out about his wish to wear the red version and the regimental association helped provide one.

Image copyright Regimental Association of the Granadier Guards,
Image caption Leonard Boxall with his red jacket and bearskin hat, surrounded by some of his family at the Linden Court care home in Watton, Norfolk

Mr Boxall's daughter Sue Baldock said her father was delighted to wear the uniform at his care home in Watton.

"He was quite emotional. He was talking around [the home] and he was so proud," she said.

"When he heard [about the uniform] he was really excited. He was looking forward to it. He could not believe it."

Image copyright Leonard Boxall's famlly
Image caption Mr Boxall, originally from Ifield in West Sussex, served as guard at Windsor Castle while the present Queen and her sister was in residence

Provision of the uniform and distinctive ceremonial bearskin hat were arranged by Terry McLenahan and Steve Hayes of the Regimental Association of the Granadier Guards.

Joining up just before the outbreak of war, Mr Boxall was first stationed at barracks near Hyde Park, London.

Mr Boxall, originally from Ifield in West Sussex, also served as guard at Windsor Castle while the present Queen and her sister Princess Margaret were in residence.

His war service included time in France, Algeria and Italy, where he was captured at Anzio and spent the last 18 months of the conflict as a prisoner of war.

He moved to Linden Court in Watton after the death of his wife Nora, aged 98, in October 2018. They were married for 77 years.

Mr Boxall turns 100 on Friday and will have a party at the home and then a family gathering on Saturday at Dereham Church Hall.

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