TRIBUTES have been paid to a decorated war hero turned businessman who has died at the age of 95.

Eric Wass, from Poppleton, was presented with the Distinguished Flying Medal from King George VI at Buckingham Palace, for his role as an air gunner in an attack on a German U-boat during the Second World War.

Mr Wass, who volunteered for the RAF in 1941 at the age of 20, was awarded for his valour and devotion to duty in the attack off the coast of Ireland from a Catalina flying boat, which resulted in the sinking of the U-boat.

After the war Mr Wass returned to his role at the civil engineering business W.& J.Glossop Ltd in York - later Glossop Plc - where he rose through the organisation to become deputy chairman.

He is described as a self-made man who was dedicated to his wife Jean and their children Jane and David.

His son said he had been inundated with phone calls from people who knew his father, expressing how much they liked him and describing how he "always had a glint in his eye".

"He loved my mother and was a devoted family man," David Wass said. "He was very hard working and very intelligent."

Born in Helmsley, Mr Wass joined the road repair specialists Glossop in York, before signing up to the RAF where he was stationed in Ireland and Gibraltar.

After returning, he met his wife Jean, then a receptionist of the Black Swan Hotel in Helmsley, and the two were "very, very happily" married for 60 years.

They lived together in Rawcliffe Lane in York and then Poppleton. The couple had one granddaughter, Sarah.

As well as a very successful career, Mr Wass was well known for his role as president of the Royal British Legion in Helmsley and president of the Road Surface Dressing Association.

Mr Wass, who was widowed, was fiercely independent and lived self sufficiently at home until his death on February 21. He died suddenly but peacefully with family beside him at York Hospital.

Mr Wass' funeral service will be held at St. Everilda's Church, Nether Poppleton on Wednesday, March 2 at 1.30pm, followed by interment in the church yard. All inquiries to J G Fielder & Son Funeral Directors on 01904 654460.