The funeral of Geoffrey will take place on Monday, April 12.
The great grandfather, a proud Yorkshireman and Royal Navy veteran, received the Légion d’Honneur five years ago, France’s highest military honour, in recognition of his service during World War Two.
Geoffrey was a wireman on a Landing Craft Tank (LCT), which landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He had a remarkable escape, after his craft struck a mine and drifted at sea for several days before being towed to safety by an American warship.
He volunteered to serve his country at the age of 18 and in 1943 was called up to join HMS Royal Arthur, doing his initial training at Butlins in Skegness, which had been commandeered for the war effort.
D-Day itself was a traumatic experience for Geoffrey, who recently recalled the events of June 6: “Many soldiers drowned, others reached the beaches and were hit by some of the mines. That sticks in my memory,” he said. “I feel really proud for what I’ve done, but it’s still in my memory all the time about the poor soldiers, some were only 18. At least I was fortunate, coming back all in one piece.”
Geoffrey and his late wife Margaret were married for 56 years and had two children, one granddaughter and two great granddaughters. He also returned to Normandy on several occasions with the Royal British Legion, and was joined by his daughter Celia Broom when 255 D-Day veterans joined a Royal British Legion cruise ship to mark the 75th anniversary in 2019.
Celia said: “It was a wonderful time, and Dad was so grateful that the Royal British Legion included him in the 255 veterans. Dad never really spoke about the War until he started revisiting Normandy with the Legion and we’ve made a short film about his experience which I will be showing at our local church when we are able to do so.
“He was already doing war work at the age of 18 so he didn’t have to sign up, but it was a measure of the man that he wanted to volunteer to do his duty for his country.
“Dad was very well-known in Brighouse and was a true gentleman. He was very kind, considerate and unassuming, and I’m so proud that he was my Dad. He was my hero.”
Debbie Harding, Area Manager for the Royal British Legion in Yorkshire, said: “Geoffrey was well-known to the Royal British Legion in Yorkshire and we were particularly delighted when he joined us along with Celia in 2019 when we chartered a cruise ship to take Normandy veterans to France mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
“Five years ago he was presented with the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French military honour, to recognise his service, so he leaves behind an amazing legacy. All our thoughts are with Geoffrey’s family and friends.”