Dozens of people have pledged to attend the funeral of an heroic Blackpool soldier who fought in the D-Day landings.
Following an appeal in yesterday’s Gazette, organisers said they have had an “outstanding” response from forces’ groups pledging to attend the funeral of John ‘Jack’ Humphrey who died earlier this month aged 95.
Mr Humphrey, who fought between 1939 to 1945, took part in the D-Day Landings in June 1944 and was one of the few soldiers to survive the ill-fated Operation Market Garden.
He left the Army after the war was over in 1945 and returned to his adopted hometown of Blackpool where he dedicated his life to community and charity as a senior member of the Freemasons.
But Mr Humphrey died on February 8, at his home on Kenwyn Avenue, Blackpool, with no relatives still living in the country and so the call was made to honour the war hero.
Fellow freemason Chris Morley, 41, from Thornton said: “I put the plea on Facebook and I have got quite a few ex-military groups and a whole load of people saying they are coming already.
“I would say at least 40 people are coming as a result of the story. Some people have promised to make three hour drives to visit.
“The response has been outstanding.”
Mr Humphrey was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, where his father was a miner.
The family moved to Blackpool when Mr Humphrey was a boy and from there he was conscripted, age 18, to join the war effort.
He quickly rose through the ranks, after being posted to Egypt with the Royal Army Service Corps, and joined the Special Ops Executive, based mainly in Greece.
The sergeant proposed to wife Peggie during leave and had a son Michael, who has since moved to Australia.
He is unable to make the long journey home for tomorrow’s funeral.
The funeral, at Carleton Crematorium, begins at 10am.