Tributes paid to two of Wakefield’s D-Day veterans, Oliver Coulthard and Percy Boffey

Percy Boffey.
Percy Boffey.

Earlier this year the Express paid tributes to two of our D-Day veterans.

Oliver Coulthard died in April and Percy Boffey died last month.

Oliver Coulthard.

Oliver Coulthard.

Born in Ravensthorpe, Mr Coulthard joined the Royal Navy in 1942, aged just 17, and just weeks later was dispatched to join the HMS Tornado.

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His work took him to America, before he returned to Europe in 1943, in time to take part in the D-Day landings.

Mr Coulthard worked aboard a minesweeper, which swept the ocean for mines and explosives before soldiers attempted to land on nearby beaches.

After retiring from the Royal Navy following the end of the Second World War, Mr Coulthard returned to Wakefield, where he settled in Wrenthorpe and married Kathlyn Mellor in 1950.

Son-in-law Trevor Atkinson said: “He was a very good landlord, and it was a very popular pub. He really kept his beer well, it was a really recommended pub to go to. He was a character. A generous, loving family man.”

In 2015, Mr Coulthard, now grandfather to Amy, Alex and Ben, was awarded a Legion d’Honneur medal from the French government, recognising his role in the D-Day landings.

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.

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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.

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“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”.

He was also awarded the Legion d’Honneur for his part in the D-Day landings.