Funeral held for Wakefield’s last D-Day landings veteran

Wakefield last D-Day veteran, Percy Boffey.
Wakefield last D-Day veteran, Percy Boffey.

Tributes were paid at the funeral of Wakefield’s last D-Day veteran earlier this month.

Sgt Percy Boffey served in the 1/4 battalion, 49th division of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry during the Second World War and took part in the June 1946 D-Day landings in Normandy.

It was on the fourth day of the operation that he waded ashore onto Gold Beach – which was the code name for one of the five areas of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France.

Mr Boffey was shot and wounded as he waded ashore and had described the scene “chaotic”.

After he recovered, he continued to fight in Europe.

Friend and former Mayor of Wakefield and Norman Hazell said: “I had the greatest respect for Percy. He was a gentleman who I was proud to call a friend, as we had our discussions on military affairs. I visited him several times, sat talking, fascinated at his great memory of events.”

Mr Hazell said Mr Boffey made several visits to Normandy to visit graves of former “mates”.

The President of France awarded him the medal of Legion d’Honneur for his part in the D-Day landings.

Mr Boffey’s funeral was conducted by Rev Trevor Grewcock, supported by members of the Royal British Legion who led the procession bearing the standard.

Members of his family, including his granddaughter, who wrote the eulogy and travelled from Norwich with her family attended, as well as people from Wakefield. Mr Hazell said: “Percy had spent most of his life in Wakefield and made many friends by his good nature and patience.”