The family steps in so Reg can still honour veterans with wreath
- Credit: Archant
The family of a 97-year-old veteran from Weston laid a wreath on a train to Paddington yesterday which was placed on a war memorial at the station to mark Armstice Day.
The project organised by The Veterans Charity and GWR saw nine trains from across the South West region taking the poppy wreaths to the capital.
The Weston wreath was due to be placed by 97-year-old World War Two and Normandy veteran Reg Charles, but was prevented due to the national lockdown.
Instead, the wreath was taken to the station by daughter Sheila Harding, grandson David Harding and two of his great-grandchildren – Izzy, aged 10, and Oliver aged 6 – to be placed on the train.
Sheila said: “My dad is very disappointed he couldn’t attend in person, but he wrote the names of veterans that he knew, and are no longer with us, on his wreath as a mark of respect.
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“This year’s Remembrance remains as important to him as in previous years and he led an Act of Remembrance over the internet with St Mark’s Primary School in Worle.”
Reg has been visiting St Marks Primary School – where his great-grandchildren attend and his granddaughter is a teacher – for around 10 years, to lead the two-minute silence, and is sad not to have been there this year.
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Reg served with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the 5th then 1st Battalion. He was called up in January 1942 a month before his 19th birthday. He went to Normandy in July 1944 and took part in the Normandy campaign.
Sheila added: “Dad returned to Normandy for the 65th anniversary of the Normandy campaign and he then returned again for the 70th and has been every year since until Covid put a stop to this year’s trip.
“He is keen for the younger generation to remember those who fought in the wars, and those who continue to serve. This is why the Veterans Charity is so important to him.”
Sheila added: “It will be a privilege to be laying the wreath on Dad’s behalf on Wednesday.
“It has been an honour over the past few years to accompany him to Normandy and Holland, and follow in his footsteps.”