Ex-servicemen are urging people from across the Fylde coast to turn out and honour the life of an heroic Blackpool soldier, believed to be the last member of his regiment.
Harry Motteram, 94, died on May 1. He fought bravely in the Far East during the Second World War and served with the 137 Field Regiment – also known as the Blackpool Regiment.
He was captured in 1942 by the Japanese and forced to work on the infamous Death Railway Bridge on the River Kwai – known for the horrendous conditions its labourers were subjected to.
After being held as a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years he returned to Blackpool in 1945.
Today, Sgt Rick Clement, who was severely injured in May 2010 after stepping on an explosive in Afghanistan, led the calls to honour Mr Motteram.
He said: “It is vitally important to remember these guys.
“It is becoming more and more common. It is the ages of these men – more people are passing away.
“If anyone can make it I would ask them to do so.
“The conditions they suffered were absolutely horrendous. The rules of war did not exist in terms of treatment of captured prisoners. Some were horrific.
“We should honour them. I am sure if medals were awarded for endurance they would have won many.
“All credit to this man. They all come from a mould which could get through anything.”
Mike Warren, chairman of the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee, added: “With everything going on with the Armed Forces in recent years it’s important people remember them for putting their life on the line for their country – especially so with this chap being local.
“I doubt we will see their like again. I would urge anyone to be there and register their gratitude.”
Mr Motteram’s funeral service and cremation will be held at Carleton Crematorium, Blackpool, on Monday at 11.15am.
Donations can be made in memory of the former gunner to Trinity Hospice at Low Moor Road, Blackpool, FY2 0BG. For more information contact Layton Funerals on (01253) 301306.