Veterans

D-Day Veteran Douglas Parker Honoured By Veterans At Funeral

Douglas Parker was one of the last survivors who took part in the start of the assault on Sword Beach on D-Day.

The funeral for a D-Day veteran who was "one of the very first to land on Sword Beach" on 6 June 1944 has been held in Sheffield.

Douglas Parker was one of the last survivors who took part in the assault on Sword Beach at H-Hour - the time the amphibious assaults along the Normandy coast began during the Second World War.

He died aged 98 last month.

After initially joining the West Yorkshire Regiment in August 1941, Mr Parker was transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment and served in B Company, 2nd Battalion the East Yorkshire Regiment, now represented in today's Yorkshire Regiment.

Veterans and standards representing his regimental association paraded to honour Mr Parker at his funeral on Monday.

The service was conducted by his son Reverend John Parker.

Colonel Charles le Brun, chairman of the Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire Regimental Association, led the veterans at the funeral.

Mr Parker took part in the assault on Sword Beach on D-Day and attended D-Day 75 commemorations in Normandy, France (Picture: British Army).

He said: "He [Mr Parker] was one of the very first to land on Sword Beach under murderous fire on 6 June 1944 and then to fight all the way through until VE Day until 11 months later.

"The Prince of Wales's Own (West and East Yorkshire) Regimental Association was greatly honoured to attend the funeral and to have nine standards on parade, and in particular, the battle flag of the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment carried from D-Day to VE Day."

The East Yorkshire Regiment D-Day battle flag, which was carried ashore in the assault on the Normandy beaches, was loaned from the York Army Museum for the funeral as a special tribute to Mr Parker.

The last time the flag saw the light of day was in Normandy for the D-Day 75 commemorations in 2019 which Mr Parker attended.

It was made and given to the battalion by the ladies of Waterlooville in Hampshire, where the regiment was staying before D-Day.

View of a beach in Normandy during the Allied invasion on D-Day 060644 CREDIT PA - downloaded on 050620
D-Day - codenamed Operation Neptune - was the largest amphibious invasion in history (Picture: PA).

After surviving the assault on Sword Beach, Mr Parker fought through France before taking part in Operation Market Garden with the British 3rd Infantry Division.

The ambitious mission in September 1944 aimed to secure bridges over the Rhine in Nazi-occupied Holland as part of an Allied invasion of Germany, however it failed.

Mr Parker ended the war just outside Bremen, Germany, on VE Day before he was sent to Egypt and demobbed in December 1946 – having served for over five years.

He returned to Normandy on many occasions, with his last visit two years ago.

Mr Parker's son, Stuart Parker, said he would "like to thank The Yorkshire Regiment for the wreath that was sent" for the funeral.

"A sad occasion, but also we were very proud that so many standards were able to attend and give my father the military send-off that he fully deserved," he said.

Cover image: Veterans holding flags at the funeral of Douglas Parker, who died aged 98 (Picture: British Army).