Mourners pay their last respects to D-Day veteran, Roy Rowbotham

A guard of honour follows Normandy veteran Roy Rowbotham's coffin as the cortege arrives at York Crematorium for the funeral.

A veteran gets a kiss as he arrives for the funeral of Roy Rowbotham, at York Crematorium.

Normandy Veteran Roy Rowbotham, Royal Artillery.

First published in News
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Pride mingled with sorrow as more than 130 mourners said a last farewell to York D-Day hero Roy Rowbotham.

The service at York Crematorium was packed as the Normandy veteran was laid to rest yesterday afternoon.

The 93-year-old from Bishopthorpe died just days after returning from the D-Day celebrations in France last month.

Despite failing health, he had been determined to take his place among his comrades for the 70th anniversary of the landings.

Yesterday fellow veterans stood in tribute as his coffin was brought into the crematorium chapel to the strains of the Royal Artillery slow march.

The casket was draped in the Union Flag with Mr Rowbotham's old beret and medals on the top.

The service was led by Chaplain to the Normandy Veterans' Association and retired rector of All Saints Pavement, David Porter.

He said the struggle of Mr Rowbotham and his comrades had "not been against flesh and blood but an evil which had already overwhelmed one country and was threatening to over run Europe".

"Roy was a courageous man," he said. "Those who have been to war know what an ugly, ghastly, awful thing it is. Roy was in the Army to create God's kingdom of justice and peace.

"He would rather have not have done it. But it had to be done."

The service was told Mr Rowbotham was spared the horrors of Dunkirk because he was too young to enlist in the British Expeditionary Force?.

But he was soon in action in North Africa with the Desert Rats, ?and later fought in Italy. He was in the first wave on D-Day and also survived Operation Market Garden.

While stationed in Germany after the war, he met his future wife Christa and the couple had two children, Angela and Rob.

Mr Porter added: "Roy was the strong and silent type - but always willing to be led by his beloved Christa."

The flags of the Normandy Veterans' Association ? and Royal Engineers' Association were gently lowered as the service came to a close.

A montage of photos celebrating Mr Rowbotham's life was shown to the mourners while Al Johnson's When I Leave The World Behind played ? - just as he had requested.

In accordance with his wishes, no hymns were sung but there was a reading of Do Not Stand At My Grave ?And Weep - which was found among his most treasured possessions.

His son Rob said: "My dad requested for the service to be as plain and simple as possible with no hymns so we kept it that way."

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