Retro: Sheffield family tribute to fallen soldier Alan

Private Alan Radford, who died in June 1944 in France
Private Alan Radford, who died in June 1944 in France
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A proud Sheffield soldier’s family have shared the story of  their relative who fought and died in Normandy.

Jayne Radford has shared details of Alan Radford, who fought in the Sixth Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) and was the s on of Tom Evans Radford and Mary Elizabeth Radford, of Parson Cross, Sheffield.

Private Alan Radford's war grave in France

Private Alan Radford's war grave in France

He died on June 17, 1944, aged 20.

His gravestone at the cemetery in the Calvados region of France is inscribed: “From battlefield to heavenly rest, God took our son, one of the best.”

Jayne wrote: “I thought you may be interested in our family hero Alan Radford. He is always fondly spoken of within the Radford family as if we all knew him.

“He is our legend.

A cross for Private Alan Radford, killed in France in June 1944

A cross for Private Alan Radford, killed in France in June 1944

“Alan was with the Duke of Wellington’s when he died in Caen, Normandy, France.

“The story we have been told is that he was blasted by the Germans from a tank.

“A family friend who was with him at the time told the family he had taken a lot of German soldiers with him. He was operating a Bren gun at the time.

“Alan’s gravestone is in Hottot-Les-Bagues ,France.

Alan Radford's mother Mary Radford with her youngest son Michael and Mrs Gosling, a local woman whose family tended Alan's grave

Alan Radford's mother Mary Radford with her youngest son Michael and Mrs Gosling, a local woman whose family tended Alan's grave

“Before the war grave commission took over tending the graves, a French family adopted a grave to tend.

“The Gosling family looked after Alan’s grave and a member of our family is still in contact with them to this day.

“Mary, his mother, went over to France to meet them after the war with her youngest son, Michael, who would have been nine years old at the time.

“That was very brave of her as she had never stepped out of Yorkshire before then.”

The battle to liberate the city of Caen was a key objective for allied forces on D Day on June 6, 1944 because of its key position along the Orne River and Caen Canal, as well as its role as a major road hub within the region. Capturing it would seriously hinder the Germans’ ability to respond to allied operations.

However, it took seven weeks to achieve and much of the city was destroyed.