Rallying cry after death of Second World War veteran from Leeds

Harry Thrush, pictured in April last year.

Harry Thrush, pictured in April last year.

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He loyally travelled the length and breadth of Yorkshire in the latter years of his life to attend the funerals of the fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the family of Harry Thrush are hoping military personnel past and present will make a similar show of appreciation following his death at the age of 92.

The Second World War veteran, from Robin Hood, is being laid to rest in Leeds on Wednesday and his loved ones say they would be honoured to see a large turnout from the Armed Forces community.

Harry’s daughter, Janet Smith, from Mirfield, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “It would make us very happy and I know my dad would be extremely proud as well.

“He would see on the news or read in the paper that a funeral of a young soldier was happening and that would be it, he would be off on the bus on the day to pay his respects.

“We have no way of contacting all the relatives of the people whose funerals he went to, so hopefully some of them will see this and come along on Wednesday. They will be very welcome.”

Janet’s appeal is just part of a touching effort by the family to give her dad the military send-off he always wanted.

Six representatives of 269 Battery Royal Artillery in Leeds will carry the widower’s flag-draped casket at the funeral while a standard bearer from the Royal British Legion will also be present.

Harry, formerly of Beeston, saw action in North Africa and Italy during the war, serving with the 7th Mountain Regiment Royal Artillery.

The grandfather-of-five made headlines in 2014 when his 90th birthday was marked with a touching message and photo sent from a team stationed at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

He died peacefully on Christmas Eve. Harry’s funeral will take place at St Mary’s Parish Church, Beeston, at 12.45pm prior to cremation at Cottingley Hall Crematorium at 1.40pm.

Donations to the British Heart Foundation, Dementia UK and the Royal British Legion can be made during a collection at the service.

A wake will follow in a suite at the Elland Road ground of Leeds United, who were lucky enough to count Harry and his late wife Carrie as fans.

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