Leeds veteran gets medals 70 years after service

Geoff Gaunt, 91.
Geoff Gaunt, 91.

Seventy years after being stationed in Palestine as a paratrooper, a Leeds veteran has finally been honoured with his medals.

Former serviceman Geoff Gaunt was thrown a surprise party yesterday at the Hawthorne Farm pub in Yeadon, Leeds.

Mr Gaunt during his time as a paratrooper in the 1940s.

Mr Gaunt during his time as a paratrooper in the 1940s.

The 91-year-old, of Yeadon, joined the Army in 1945, and in 1948 was stationed in Palestine with the Army Air Corps.

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But he had never received his silverware, and never wanted to make an issue of it either.

Following the ceremony, he said: “I feel I don’t deserve all of this fuss and I’m amazed how it’s all come about.

“It’s been a surprise and lovely to see all my friends and family in one place just for me.”

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Mick Wattam, branch secretary of the Parachute Regiment in Yorkshire, turned out for the ceremony, along with Mr Gaunt’s friends and family.

One friend, ex-serviceman Ray Weldrand, was the man who had taken it upon himself to make sure Mr Gaunt was properly honoured for his service.

He had requested that Mr Gaunt receive the medals and a red beret, after finding out he was without them just a few weeks ago.

Mr Weldrand said: “He’s not the type of chap who would go to the Ministry of Defence and go, ‘Where are my medals?’ He’s quite an unassuming man.”

After leaving the forces in 1948, Mr Gaunt spent the remainder of his working life as a shopkeeper of a greengrocer store in Shipley. He retired some years ago.