UK

WW2 Veteran Receives Military Guard Of Honour At Funeral

Corporal Stan "Swanee" Swansborough was a despatch rider with the Royal Corps of Signals, but only spoke of the war "fairly recently".

A World War Two veteran has received an escort and guard of honour from the Royal Corps of Signals personnel at his funeral.

Corporal Stan "Swanee" Swansborough, a former despatch rider with the Royal Signals, died aged 96.

His coffin was escorted by outriders from the Royal Signals Riders Branch, before around 50 socially-distanced, serving Royal Signals soldiers lined the route to Easthampstead Crematorium to form a guard of honour.

Jane Flowers, Mr Swansborough's daughter, said she "was bowled over by the amount of love that people have for his generation, because they are all disappearing very rapidly".

Mr Swansborough was called up just before his 18th birthday and was soon driving between Whitehall and the South Coast to deliver information to the thousands of troops massing for D-Day.

Two weeks after the invasion he landed in France, relaying messages in his Willys jeep between General Bernard Law Montgomery and the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower.

From France, Mr Swansborough fought in Holland, Belgium and eventually Germany, before 18 months posted in India.

But Ms Flowers said her father didn't talk about World War Two "until fairly recently".

"I think it was one of those things where everybody had been to war and he felt as though… because he wasn't in a fighting unit, he was in a support unit, he felt as though other people deserved honour more than he did," she said.

And Emily Hickman, Mr Swansborough's granddaughter, said it was only after a family trip to Normandy that it "all started pouring out".

As well as a funeral escort, Mr Swansborough was given a guard of honour by around 50 serving members of the Royal Signals.

"He would take us around and show all of his grandchildren what he had been up to and where he had been and what he had seen and all these different events he had been involved in," she said.

After the Second World War, Mr Swansborough worked for BOAC, which eventually became British Airways, but his attachment to his former unit never faded.

He returned to Normandy several times and was a guest of honor at the Signals' headquarters in Blandford, Dorset - becoming an honorary friend of the Corp.

Steve "Scouse" Hall, who served in the Royal Signals between 1985 and 2002, said Mr Swansborough "gave us the right of freedom".

"He was part of the Royal Signals, anyone who is part of the Royal Signals becomes part of our family," he added.

"We'll do anything we can to honour them."

In 2014, Mr Swansborough was awarded the Legion d'honneur, France's highest order of merit.

He was also awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the France and Germany Star medals, The Defence Medal and The Victory Medal.

The Military Attaché at the Royal Dutch Embassy, London, also awarded him with the Thank You Liberators Medal.