Hector Duff reunited with war vehicles

From The Veteran Foundations Facebook Page

Congratulations to Hector Duff, who was given a fantastic surprise to mark his 101st birthday – by being reunited with one of the war vehicles he drove. Hector (in the front of the picture), served with the 7th Armoured Division, nicknamed the Desert Rats, due to their service in North Africa, between 1940 and 1945.
The veteran, who also took part in the D-Day landings, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. Thank you for you amazing service, Hector.

Ken Turner Légion d’honneur

It is with much sadness that we learned that the our friend and Bristol Veterans Chairman, Ken Turner sadly passed away yesterday. A lovely man and passionate supporter for the Veterans.

Ken arrived with the 7th Royal Tank Regiment at Normandy a number of days after D-Day to carry out daring reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines.

They were high risk and the men frequently came under fire. For Ken, who was a lance corporal, his war in France came to an end when a German bomber disguised as an Allied plane made a direct hit on his and his two comrades’ tank.

One of the crew died instantly and the other is believed to have died later of his wounds.
Ken said: “The bomb blew my tank to smithereens – my two crew members were killed. How the hell I escaped with only injuries I will never know.”
Shrapnel in his back was removed by medics before he was flown for care to a hospital in Cardiff, but a metal nut which lodged itself in his neck was only removed 20 years ago after an X-ray revealed its location. It is now displayed in a box in his home.

Ken said: “It is a reminder of the war and two men in my tank team who did not survive that blast.”
The event also had a life changing outcome for Ken, who had originally lied about his age when he joined the army at just 16 and while he was in hospital, a group of women from a nearby munitions factory organised a party for the wounded soldiers.

Ken said “That German pilot did me a favour because that’s when I met my wife Betty, back in hospital.”

After recovering from his injuries, Ken continued his military service in Italy until the Germans surrendered.

He was demobbed and married Betty, the couple going on to have a son, Paul, and daughter, Carole.
Ken said it was important to remember those who died in the war.

He said: “It must be a lesson to ensure it never happens again.”

Fair winds and following seas Ken, RIP Sir.

The Field of Remembrance 2020

The 5th November 2020 should have been the annual Field of Remembrance service at Westminster. Abbey. The Spirit of Normandy plot (formerly the NVA plot) will still have the Remembrance Poppies set in place ,but regrettably be no participants are permitted.

Ken Hay MBE, Leg.d’hon was to have accompanied SONT Vice Chairman Ian Stewart CM. The featured photo is a picture of Ken, Pat Pridham and Ian at the plot 2 years ago.

We will Remember Them

IOM Hector Duff Awards

On Tuesday the 13th October all the prize winners met in the Hector Duff Centre at Ramsey Grammar School to be presented with their IOM Hector Duff Awards by Mrs Baker the Headteacher.

Students in The Hector Duff Study Centre
Adam Shaw winner of the Senior Award
Lola Tebay winner of the KS3 Hector Duff Award
Keira Brown winner of the Young Historian Award, with her certificate and book.

Later in the day Lola Tebay met Hector at his house, along with her Mum, Mrs Baker and history teacher, Andrew Wilkinson.

Lola Tebay & Hector with the RGS Spirit of Normandy Hector Duff Award
Lola, Hector, Mrs Baker and Andrew Wilkinson.

On Sunday 11 October, history teachers from across the island took Hector out for lunch:

Hector with his cake
History Teachers and Hector.

Finally, Hector featured on BBC North West. Follow the link from about 22 minutes.


It is with great sadness that we have heard of the passing of Dame Vera Lynn today at the great age of 103.  She was a symbol of the resilience and stoicism of the war years. We’ll Meet Again became the song that would encapsulate the indomitable spirit of the World War 2 generation, words recently recalled by Her Majesty the Queen when speaking of the nation’s response to the Covid19 pandemic. Dame Vera will be widely mourned and greatly missed.  Our condolences go to her family at this sad time.