Village rallies round to give Second World War veteran a proper send off

Reginald James Watson's Regular Army Certificate of Service book. Picture: Gordon Barber funeral dir

Reginald James Watson's Regular Army Certificate of Service book. Picture: Gordon Barber funeral directors. - Credit: Gordon Barber funeral directors

A village has rallied round to give a Second World War veteran a fitting funeral after learning he was to be buried in an unmarked grave 10 miles away from his former home.

Reginald James Watson, who grew up and lived in Ormesby St Margaret, died last month at the age of 90, and had no surviving family.

However, after an appeal on social media site Facebook asking people to go along his send off next month he is expected to have a full congregation pay tribute.

The Royal British Legion is also expected to be represented.

The social media post was written by the Rev Mandy Bishop of St Margaret's Church in Yarmouth Road, who said: 'We know very little about him, as he was a very private man, but the response we have had on social media has been overwhelming.

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'We've had several people get in touch and say they used to see him around and that he was always very gracious and would say hello to people as they passed by.'

Mr Watson was born in 1926, to Reginald Watson and Nora Hubbard, and had two sisters, Elsie and Nora, neither of whom married. His father had no siblings and none of his mother's siblings had children.

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He enlisted in the General Service Corps on January 23, 1945 before going on to serve in the King's Rifle Corps from April that year. He was discharged a on September 1, 1948.

Until June 2016, he lived on Wapping, Ormesby, the same house in which he had grown up, before moving into Carlton Court Hospital in Lowestoft.

Hospital staff described him as 'a proper gentleman, private, stoic and did not talk much about himself', adding that despite being treated for cancer, he never complained.

Mr Watson left few possessions behind, but one thing that he did treasure was his Regular Army Certificate of Service book, which is still in pristine condition.

Aneliese Rix, funeral director of Gordon Barber in Lowestoft, said: 'He may not have had family, but he was certainly not alone in terms of the number of people who cared about him.'

After leaving the army, Mr Watson worked at the corn grinding mill in Ormesby,

Rev Bishop added: 'We are expecting a full church and believe he will receive the dignified send off he deserves.'

Mr Watson died on November 23, and his funeral is due to take place at St Margaret's Church ion January 10 at 12.30pm.

A private cremation will then take place at Gorleston, before his ashes are spread in Ormesby church's garden of remembrance.

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