Funeral held for Helston D-Day veteran

The funeral of William Frederick Richards, aged 89 years, took place at Chynhale Methodist Church on Thursday 20th February. The service was conducted by the Rev Beverly Turner.

Bill was born, at Carn View, Crowntown, Sithney to Frederick and Annie Richards on 24th October 1924 and was to be the first of four children: Bill, Jack (deceased) Lewis and Betty. He was educated at Sithney School leaving at the age of 14 to become apprenticed to Mr H King, mobile grocer, based at Woodlee, Chynhale. Bill began his driving career soon after, his call up being delayed for one year because of his involvement in construction of the new Predannick aerodrome.

On 16th December 1943 at Chester, and despite excellent results on the rifle range, Bill became Driver Richards of the 7th Army Division, 5th Royal Horse Artillery. He trained intensively for the next few months on the “Sexton” tank and first saw action on D Day coming ashore at Arromanches. He was involved in the heavy fighting around Caen and the final break out; also the Battle of the Bulge and the slaughter of the Falaise Gap; then on through the Low Countries into Germany, meeting with the Russians on the Elbe. Recalled to England before the Allies Triumphant Entry into Berlin, he was then sent to Burma until demobilization in 1947.

After the war Bill drove for a number of haulage companies including Leonard Christophers and George Edwards. It was while picking up milk for the Milk Marketing Board based at Treswithian that he met Lois and they were married at Illogan on 26th August 1950. They lived at Roscroggan at first before moving to the outskirts of Praze an Beeble. They had three children, Robert, Julie and Stephen, moving into the village proper in 1961 where Bill grew vegetables and kept, at various times, kept chickens, pigs and goats as well as a succession of dogs and cats.

As well as lorry driving Bill worked for many years as a pest control officer for the Ministry of Agriculture and at the Roswarne Experimental Station where he specialised in growing new varieties of anenomes.

Upon retirement Bill and Lois moved to Tregarrick Close, Helston, where they enjoyed 26 happy years, tending their garden and making many good friends. They enjoyed nothing more than taking to the open road in their latest camper van, a passion that had begun in the early 1970s and continued for as long as Bill's health allowed. Most holidays were spent locally but occasionally travelled further afield, even as far as Scotland.

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