Tribute to Diss veteran

Tributes have been paid to a popular second world war veteran who has passed away at the age of 100.

Diss-resident Charles Saunders, who was the oldest member of the Hoxne and District branch of the Royal British Legion, died on November 3 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The pensioner, who served with the army for 27 years, was raised in Weybread, near Harleston, and had lived in Diss since 1968.

Last year, he was honoured for his service to the country after receiving the Armed Forces Veterans Badge.

Mr Saunders, who joined the army in 1931, was serving as an anti aircraft gunner in France in 1940 when he became cut off from the evacuation beaches of Dunkirk. But his unit headed south to commandeer a coal freighter in Marseille to avoid capture. He served as a Territorial Army instructor until 1958.

John Elliott, vice-chairman of the Hoxne and District branch of the Royal British Legion, said: 'He was a very active member of the legion up until he was 96 years old. He never failed the legion and was a very generous man.

'He was full of stories and he would have everyone in stitches. He was a real character.'

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His funeral will take place at 2pm on November 24 at St Mary's Church, Diss.