Joe Hodgson 1921 – 2020

We are sad to inform you of the sudden death of Joe Hodgson, born 21-12-21 died 11-1-2020 after a short illness. Joe had moved from his home in Prescot, Merseyside to live near his family on the Isle of Wight. Joe was a member of the Normandy Veterans and attended many commemorations both in the UK and in France.

The funeral will take place on February 8th at 3.45pm at the Isle of Wight Crematorium.

Peter Hodge MBE

We have been asked to notify all interested parties of Peters funeral arrangements.

The funeral will take place on Tuesday 21 January at 2.15pm, at St Pius Xth church Gatehouse Avenue Withywood Bristol BS13 9AB followed by a short service at south Bristol crematorium at 3pm.

Duxford Imperial War Museum Visit

The photo was taken at Duxford Imperial war Museum, where Helen Lotery, winner of the 2019 YHP senior prize, (with her entry on The Spitfire), her family and Mark Waring SONT Trustee with his son Connor, were invited as guests of Clive Denney who restores and flies historic aircraft. They spent a fascinating and unforgettable few hours on site, and were able to visit parts of the museum where the public aren’t usually allowed. They sat in the cockpits and had the most detailed and interesting conversations about the planes, including so many matters related to them and to the veterans, plus many other topics.
Grateful thanks were expressed to all concerned and especially to Robert Lodge for organising the visit.

Students History Awards Ramsey Grammar School. IOM

WWII veteran, Hector Duff came into Ramsey Grammar School on Friday 13th December to present awards to students who had entered the Spirit of Normandy Trust, History Competition while they were in Year 9.

Students had produced “Tell Me’ projects based on their relatives experiences in World War Two. All students also received a D Day 75th Anniversary badge. Phoebe Cleator’s entry in particular impressed the judges and Phoebe who earlier in the year received the Hector Duff History Trophy was awarded a Highly Commended certificate for her project on RAF Jurby. Students then had lunch with Hector.

Hector also took the opportunity to give 8A an impromptu history lesson on his experiences during D Day in June 1944.

Young Historian Project/IOM Post Office Competition

Earlier in the day Andy Perry of the Isle of Man Post Office attended the Year 10, assembly to present certificates and book tokens to students who had entered a competition where they had to imagine sending a letter from the front to home during the War. The students had to imagine that soldiers and their families had access to modern technology, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The entry of Ruby Grant and Althea Mallorca were singled out for special praise.

Young Historian Project

At the assembly, other students who produced notable “Tell Me” projects about their relatives lives in the 1950s and 1960s also received certificates. Oscar Bovenizer’s project was highlighted for excellency and he received a book as his prize.

Hector presents Phoebe Cleator with her Hector Duff History Trophy.

Hector presents certificates to Spirit of Normandy Prize winners.
8A listen to Hector talk about D Day.

Andy Perry of the IOM Post Office presents students with their certificates and prizes

Winners of the Young Historian Project receive their certificates from Head of Year, Darren Lillie.

Hector Duff, MM, BEM, TW, Leg.d’hon

Ian & Mary Stewart were recently honoured to be invited to the Isle of Man to share the 100th birthday celebrations of Hector Duff, MM, BEM, TW, Leg.d’hon. A Manx man and a highly respected veteran on the island. During WW2 he served with the 7th Armoured Division in 1942 at El Alamein where he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, within 24 hours of his action on the battlefield. The invasion of Italy in 1943. His unit landed in Normandy on the afternoon of 6th June1944. They continued through France and Germany, and took part in the Victory Parade in Berlin. After the war he remained in Germany and was involved in the early work of the Nuremberg Trials.

On his return home he subsequently joined the IOM constabulary where he served for 30 years.

Hector regularly visits Primary & Senior schools on the island; as a result of this for many years the Spirit of Normandy Trust Young Historian Project receive a number of entries from the IOM. Ian and Mary were delighted to be able to visit Ramsey Grammar school taking several certificates for the entrants for the 2019 competition; Commended, Highly Commended and one Very Highly Commended for which a book token was also awarded. However, the main event on that day was for the school to mark this special birthday with the opening and dedication of the Hector Duff Study Centre , where Hector unveiled a stunning portrait of himself painted by a former pupil. He also cut a splendid birthday cake, the first of many during the following 2 weeks. It is Hector’s wish that next year there will be a Hector Duff Award for the Trust’s 2020YHProject specifically for an IOM school.

On the evening of his birthday the 15th October, more than a 100 invited guests attended a reception at Government House, hosted in Hector’s honour by the Lt Governor & Lady Gozney
It was a splendid occasion where Hector was also presented with The Soldiering On Award.
A TV interview can be accessed by clicking on the following link.

In lieu of presents Hector kindly asked friends and family to donate to The Spirit of Normandy Trust. In addition to this the Isle of Man Post Office, who continue to support the SONT with royalties from their Normandy 75 Stamp and coin issues, generously donated a Normandy75 limited edition cover No 75 signed by Hector and a copy of his 100th birthday card produced by the PO and featured in one of the photographs. Anyone wishing to own these unique items may wish to make an offer via

It was Ian’s & Mary’s first visit to this fascinating and beautiful island , their welcome was quite overwhelming by so many including members of Hector’s family and friends. A privilege to share this momentous occasion for and with a very special man.

Hector Duff’s 100th birthday reception at Government House Onchan.