Tributes to war veteran who passed away, aged 92

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A war veteran who survived shelling while fighting in occupied Europe has passed away at the age of 92

Hughie McGowan even lied about his age so he could sign up to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) in 1939 to help the Allies.

The son of a coal miner, he was born and bred in Normanton and became a pony driver after leaving school.

But hating the job, he saw the outbreak of war as a chance to do his bit, despite only being a fresh-faced 16-year-old.

He took part in the Italian invasion in 1943, landing at 
Selerno where he was injured supplying the frontline at Monte Cassino.

He was blown up by a German SS mortar brigade and suffered concussion and a broken jaw and ribs.

His son, Pete, said: “He was a very learned and intelligent man with an inexhaustible source of information and wisdom, which we’ll all miss.

“Because he was 16 when he joined up, he is probably one of the last KOYLIs.

“He used to sit around and tell us stories about how he got his stripes and missions he was sent on.

“He deteriorated in later years but he was always very active.”

After the war, his jobs included being a driver and even a professional boxer.

He leaves behind his wife Rose, and six children, 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

His funeral will be at St John’s RC Church in Normanton next Thursday, February 16. Anyone is welcome to attend.