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The Last Post was played and a guard of honour given as Haverhill said farewell to its final veteran of the D-Day landings



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Serving and former members of the military came from near and far and to pay their respects at the funeral of the last surviving D-Day veteran in Haverhill.

The funeral of Harry Bowdery, who died at the age of 95 of cancer on September 8 at his home in Augustus Close, took place at St Mary's Church, in Haverhill, on Monday afternoon.

As an 18-year-old, Harry had been operating the ramp on a landing craft carrying US Rangers when it arrived at the beaches of Pointe du Hoc and Omaha in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.

A guard of honour, which included some Normandy Veterans, at the funeral of Harry Bowdery. Picture by Mecha Morton
A guard of honour, which included some Normandy Veterans, at the funeral of Harry Bowdery. Picture by Mecha Morton

And the attendance at Monday's service, which was followed by a reception at the Haverhill Ex-Servicemen's Club in Quakers Lane, was appreciated by Harry's daughter Sue Jeffery.

She said: "People came from Southampton, from Norfolk, from London, from Norwich and from Clacton.

"I was amazed to see so many people there because my dad always used to joke that the only people there would be the sweeper up and their dog."

The funeral of Haverhill's last living D-Day veteran, Harry Bowdery, at St Mary's Church. Picture by Mecha Morton
The funeral of Haverhill's last living D-Day veteran, Harry Bowdery, at St Mary's Church. Picture by Mecha Morton

The pallbearers carrying Harry's grave included two of his sons, Martin and Robin, Sue's husband Martin, a friend of Harry's, Mark Cosham and Harry's grandsons Ben and Tom.

As they walked into the church they were given a guard of honour, made up of members of the Norfolk Normandy Veterans Association (which Harry would join up with on its annual returns to France) and the Haverhill & District branch of the Royal British Legion.

Sue added that a colonel in the US Army was also in attendance after reading about the funeral and deciding to pay his respects.

The buglers from the Royal Marines that played the Last Post at Harry Bowdery's funeral. Picture by John Burns
The buglers from the Royal Marines that played the Last Post at Harry Bowdery's funeral. Picture by John Burns

He was joined by two buglers from the Royal Marines in Portsmouth, who played the Last Post as the mourners left the church, where the service had been conducted by the Revd Max Drinkwater.

The Royal Marines, having been told of Harry's funeral - and that he had been in the Royal Navy - by a friend of his family, had agreed to send the two buglers, added Sue.

Speaking the day after the funeral, Sue said: "As we went out to the car they played the Last Post. Lots of people in the street just stopped and applauded.

A framed photo of Harry Bowdery is carried to his funeral service by one of the funeral directors. Picture by Mecha Morton
A framed photo of Harry Bowdery is carried to his funeral service by one of the funeral directors. Picture by Mecha Morton

"Yesterday couldn't have gone any better."

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