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Tadley pays tribute to its last Second World War veterans

Tadley has paid tribute to its last two veterans of the Second World War.

John Francis 'Jack' Carter, 96, died on March 30 this year, while Stanley Roy Nash, known as Roy, also 96, died on April 27.

Tadley rector Canon Richard Harlow said: “We shall miss Roy and Jack at our Remembrance service by Tadley war memorial, where Jack's brother, Fred, who died aged 19, is remembered every year.

Roy Nash and Jack Carter (56842983)
Roy Nash and Jack Carter (56842983)

“It was a privilege to know such brave and unassuming men.

“Their death marks the end of a generation of men from Tadley and district who fought for the freedom of Europe in the Second World War.

“It was a particular honour for me to preside at their funerals.

“Both Jack and Roy counted themselves lucky to live to old age, but I know that both of them constantly remembered too many colleagues that never came home."

Mr Carter was born on July 21, 1925, and after the death of his father aged just 34 in November 1932, spent many years moving around – from Mortimer, to Bradfield and then to Tadley, living in West Street.

Jack Carter in 1943 in Deolali, India (56897570)
Jack Carter in 1943 in Deolali, India (56897570)

Mr Carter’s brother Fred joined the RAF and in 1941 Mr Carter, aged just 16, signed up for the army himself – pretending he was two years older than he was.

It was a similar story when he met his future wife Elizabeth in Northern Ireland while on training – telling the 20-year-old Lily they were the same age.

He later wrote in a book of his life: “I didn’t even tell my mother, because I think she would have stopped the wedding and pulled me out the army.”

Jack Carter in 1945 aged 20 (56897572)
Jack Carter in 1945 aged 20 (56897572)

Mr Carter was posted to India soon after his wedding on Christmas Day, 1942, and fought in the Battle of Kohima – one of the bloodiest battles of the war.

He was demobbed in 1947 as a Corporal and Mr Carter and Lily lived in Tadley, then Northern Ireland, Pamber Heath and Reading, where they had a flat in Granville Road.

In 1987, they moved to Chimney Court, Reading. Lily died in 2009.

In his book, he wrote: “I'm lucky – I came through the Second World War without a scratch, had just on 67 years of marriage, and been blessed with a lovely daughter [Sandra] – so I shouldn't grumble.

“I'm not a really religious person, but I do say my prayers every night and ask the One above if one day I'll be with my Lily again.

“I'm 95 years old now, so it might not be too long to wait.”

Jack Carter with his family (56897574)
Jack Carter with his family (56897574)

Mr Nash, a “Tadley man all his life”, was born on July 4, 1925, the seventh child of nine, with the family living in Blake’s Lane.

He attended Tadley School, excelling in drawing, and he won a certificate in ‘Proficiency in Religious Knowledge’.

He left school at 14, the same month the Second World War broke out.

Mr Nash was called up for the Second World War, following three of his older brothers, and enlisted in 1943 in South Street, Reading.

On November 18, he went to the Colchester Barracks, before completing his training on the Yorkshire Moors – excelling in the physical challenges.

His final battle was on Easter Monday, April 2, 1945, in the Teutoburger Forest, Germany.

Mr Nash enlisted for the Second World War in 1943
Mr Nash enlisted for the Second World War in 1943

A bullet went through his left hand and he bled so much he was put out with the “stiffs” – and it was only when a padre went to remove his dog tag that it was noticed his eyelids were flickering.

Mr Nash was stabilised and then flown back to England in a Dakota, spending a long time in Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke, having the back of his hand rebuilt.

After the war, Mr Nash met Rose, who lived in Wyck, and it was said in his eulogy it was “nothing for him to cycle from Tadley and back” – a round trip of around 45 miles – in an evening.

Before their wedding on June 6, 1950, he purchased land in Church Road, Tadley, and a railway carriage was brought to the site, which become their first home.

They had five children – Barbara, Linda, John, Amanda and Andrew – and after Rose’s death in 1987 from cancer, he met Dolly, marrying in 1989.

Mr Nash, a keen gardener, attended some very special events including Trooping the Colour, a Buckingham Palace Garden Party with Dolly, and the VE Day event in Hyde Park – where they lost him after he was presented to the Queen. He was found in the VIP tent where he was mingling with Margaret Thatcher, Michael Heseltine, Vera Lynn and other dignitaries.

Mr Nash also received the Legion d’honneur, presented by the French Government, and he loved attending the November 11 Remembrance services and being able to lay a poppy on the war memorial with Tadley schoolchildren.

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