Last post for brave Sheffield men who served their country

Fred Powell, president of Sheffield Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations
Fred Powell, president of Sheffield Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations
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Tributes have been paid after the deaths of two of Sheffield’s last surviving World War Two veterans.

Fred Powell, president of Sheffield Joint Council of Ex Service Associations, died at the Northern General Hospital after breaking his leg.

D-Day veteran Ronald Blake with his wife Jane at home in Parson Cross

D-Day veteran Ronald Blake with his wife Jane at home in Parson Cross

Fred, aged 92, of High Green, was also chairman of the local Burma Star Association served in the war in the Royal Signals and was involved in the Battle of Kohima - a British victory in 1944 viewed as a turning point against Japan.

He also organised the city’s annual Remembrance Day service.

Meanwhile, Ronald Blake, of Parson Cross, who landed on Gold Beach in Normandy during the invasion of France in 1944, and later fought in the Battle of the Bulge, has died aged 87.

Vince McDonagh, secretary of Sheffield Joint Council, said: “Fred served during the war in the Royal Signals - and was involved in the Battle of Kohima. He was chairman of the local Burma Star Association, and was instrumental in locating their missing standard two years ago.

“Fred was also former chairman of Sheffield Royal Signals Assocation and Mess President of the Sergeants’ Mess at Manor Top TA.”

Mr McDonagh added: “Fred was a magistrate for a number of years and greatly into ballroom dancing.

“He chaired the Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations from 1982 until April this year, when he became President.

“Fred was on the shortlist for an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for 2014.”

He was also invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace last year in honour of his work.

His daughter, Andrea Fiander, of Brinsworth, described her dad as a ‘wonderful man’.

She added: “He loved people and was very gregarious.

“My father was married to Dora for 64 years but she died in 2004. I was his only child but he was also a grandfather of two.

“After leaving the Army in 1946, he went into the police.

“Music and dancing were big loves of his life and he played instruments including the piano acordian and the electric organ, playing at clubs across Sheffield.”

Fred will have a military-style funeral at Grenoside Crematorium, at 2.45pm on Monday, September 30.

Mr McDonagh said: “His coffin will be draped with the Royal Signals Regimental Pall Cloth, and his Burma Star Standard will lead the procession.

“The last post will be sounded.”