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Final farewell for Wisbech war hero

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A D-Day veteran who was one of three war heroes granted the freedom of Wisbech has died.

John McIntosh (96), along with Gerald Fleming and Ronald Sanderson, was presented with the Honorary Freedom of the Town on December 11, 2017.

John was drafted into the army in June of 1943 at the age of 19. He was initially posted to Leeds and Edinburgh for training with the 1st Highland Light Infantry.

John McIntosh in his army days (50974418)
John McIntosh in his army days (50974418)

From there they were sent on to Sittingbourne in Kent for further intense training before being shipped for deployment from Newhaven across the channel to Normandy.

John saw some of the fiercest fighting as the army fought its way up through Europe and participated in some of the most infamous battles, including the Battle of Bulge and Montecassino.

John was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier is the highest of the honour’s five divisions) by French Consul Jean-Claude Lafontaine in a special ceremony at his home in 2016.

John McIntosh when awarded the freedom of the town
John McIntosh when awarded the freedom of the town

The Mayor, Coun Andrew Lynn, his deputy Coun Susan Wallwork and the other members of Wisbech Town Council were saddened to learn of his passing on August 29.

Local councils have the power to give the title of Honorary Freemen to “persons of distinction”. The freedom is an honour to recognise the significant and valuable services rendered to the town) by that person.

John, Gerald and Ronald received a standing ovation from a packed Council Chamber after they were sworn in as Freemen in 2017. Then-mayor Coun Steve Tierney and his mayoress Marie presented each with a commemorative plaque and certificate.

John passed away while in Hickathrift House, Marshland St James. He was the dearly loved husband of the late Hazel Maud, a loving and devoted father to Jane, Anthony and Sally, father-in-law to Doug and Christine and a much loved and respected Grandad and Great-Grandad.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Augustine’s Church in Wisbech on Tuesday, September 21 at 11am. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired, at John’s request, for Blind Veterans UK may be given at the service, online by visiting www.peterbarnesfunerals.co.uk or sent to Peter Barnes, Independent Funeral Director, 38 Murrow Bank, Murrow, Wisbech, PE13 4HB. Tel: 01945 700200.

Gerald died in August 2019, aged 100, and Ronald last November, aged 94.

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