Wilf Staton, war veteran

Wilf Staton, who has died at 95, was one of Doncaster's last surviving Second World War veterans, who had taken part in the Normandy landings with the Royal Army Medical Corps. '¨Originally from Bentley, he joined the Home Guard in 1939 at 17, and was put to work as a fire watcher in the Woodlands area.

Wilf Staton during the Second World War
Wilf Staton during the Second World War

Called up to the army on his 18th birthday, he had wanted to join the RAF but found himself in the Army instead.

The first thing he had learned to do was carry a stretcher, said his nephew, the former Doncaster rugby league player, Stewart Piper.

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“He landed in Normandy seven days after D-Day, and saw a lot of unpleasant things but he said he got a taste for French wine.
“He didn’t like to talk about the war. He just got on with the job and wanted to forget about it, but I did get to hear a few stories.

Wilf Staton

“One of his friends got his arm blown off by a mortar shell while they were on guard duty in France. Another was seriously injured by a booby trap in a knocked out tank when they got to Germany. I think it blew up when he lifted the lid into it. 
“Wilf was with him at the time. He felt he had lucky escapes.”

After the war he served with the Army in Palestine, before demob in 1948.
In civilian life he worked at Bentley Colliery and International Harvesters, and went on to the Doncaster Plant works in Hexthorpe, where he painted such steam locomotives as Mallard and Flying Scotsman.