War veteran from Leeds recalls ‘lads who gave all they had’

LONG-TIME poppy seller Ernest Carr, who celebrates his 100th birthday next month, pauses on Remembrance Sunday to remember friends who fell in the Second World War.

Ernest Carr

Mr Carr served with the 59th Reconnaissance Regiment and landed in Normandy soon after D-Day in June 1944.

Later that year he was driving a Bren gun carrier when a shell landed nearby, killing a sergeant and an officer.

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Yesterday he was standing in his usual spot inside the Morrison’s store in Yeadon, his medals pinned to his chest.

He said it was important not to forget those who served.

“Lads today, and those that went before me, gave all they had. They gave their lives for their country.”

Mr Carr recalls desperate Great War veterans selling matches on the streets of Leeds in the 1920s, which angered him.

“I thought ‘if that’s all they think of them, they mustn’t give a damn.”

Elsie Turner, Guiseley branch secretary of the Royal British Legion, said: “Every year he puts a cross up at the Guiseley memorial garden for his mates who were killed and he also lays a wreath. He is a fantastic fellow, very cheerful and very independent.”

Mrs Turner said Mr Carr has been selling poppies for decades.

Yesterday Mr Carr stood in the store for two hours and was relieved by poppy sellers Derek Hartley and George Robertson, both 89.