Somerset

WW2 veteran's funeral plea sparks 'huge response'

Sydney Walsh Image copyright Samantha Hunnybun
Image caption Sydney Walsh served in the Royal Navy and also fought in the D-Day landings in 1944

A plea for people to attend the funeral of a D-Day veteran has resulted in an "overwhelming response".

Sydney Walsh died last month, aged 97, at his care home in Martock, Somerset, but his sister, who is in her 90s, is too frail to attend the service.

Funeral director, Stuart Foster, said: "We never expected such a response and are overwhelmed."

A helicopter flypast, standard bearers and bugle player will now form part of the service.

'Truly heroic'

The funeral parlour was asked by Mr Walsh's niece and sister to step in and help as only 10 relatives were able to attend.

Following a post on Facebook - which was shared more than 1,000 times - four standard bearers have offered their services along with four bugle players offering to perform the Last Post.

A motorbike escort for the funeral procession has also been pledged and the funeral director has organised a Royal Navy Merlin helicopter flypast.

"This reaction makes me proud to be part of this great nation, it shows what a wonderful community we live in, to show support for a truly heroic gentleman that served his country to allow us to have the freedom we have today," Mr Foster said.

"It is an honour and a privilege to provide Sydney with the funeral he deserves."

Mr Walsh served in the Royal Navy for seven years from January 1940 before he enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve in Devonport, where he remained for more than 30 years.

His Royal Navy career saw him work on several ships, including HMS Ark Royal, HMS Furious and HMS Defiance.

He also served on Landing ship tank number 162 on the D-Day Landings, on 6 June 1944.

Mr Walsh trained as a naval stoker and achieved the rank of Able Seaman.

The service takes place on Friday, 26 July at Yeovil Crematorium at 13:20 BST.

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