‘We will remember them’ - a military send off for Leeds WW2 veteran Benjamin Boocock

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Family, friends, serving and former soldiers gathered today (Saturday) to say goodbye to World War II veteran Benjamin Boocock.

Mr Boocock, of Bramhope, was one of the last remaining members of the Royal Regiment of Artillery and served in several major battles during World War 2.

A military send off for Leeds WW2 veteran Benjamin Boocock at St John the Baptist Church in Adel on Saturday, February 23.

A military send off for Leeds WW2 veteran Benjamin Boocock at St John the Baptist Church in Adel on Saturday, February 23.

He died on January 30 and was given a full military funeral was held at St John the Baptist Church in Adel.

His funeral procession was led by a 25-pounder gun carriage which carried Mr Boocock to the church.

There Yorkshire branches of the Royal British Legion lined the path carrying the traditional reverse arms.

The coffin was carried in by members of the 269 (West Riding Battery) Royal Artillery and was draped in the Union Jack, a wreath of red roses, military clothing and the white Yorkshire rose.

A military send off for Leeds WW2 veteran Benjamin Boocock at St John the Baptist Church in Adel on Saturday, February 23.

A military send off for Leeds WW2 veteran Benjamin Boocock at St John the Baptist Church in Adel on Saturday, February 23.

Leading the service was The Reverend Alexander Bennett CF. the deputy assistant chaplain general of the 4th Infantry Brigade.

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The hymns sung were 'I Vow to Thee, My Country' and 'Jerusalem’ and a poem written by Mr Boocock’s widow, Audrey Boocock, 96, was read out.

It read: “You don’t know what you have lost Until it is taken from your grasp. Angels take you up in the night, A star to twinkle ever bright.

“Give me a sign that I can see Where I will join in destiny, Wait for me, my dearest dear, So we can travel hand in hand Until we reach the highest goal And enter in our other soul.

“There to greet us with arms outstretched, Our family, friends and all the rest, Lost to us for years and years, Reunited once more, our dearest dears.”

Other poems included Lauren Binyon's World War One poem 'Ode of Remembrance' which features the famous words: "They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them.”

The service ended with the Last Post bugle, a two-minute silence and the Reveille before Mr Boocock’s coffin was carried out.

Captain Jon James, 269 (West Riding Battery) Royal Artillery, who helped to organise the funeral said: “It’s been incredible. The gang did Benjamin crowd, themselves proud and the regiment proud.

“I think the family have been blown away by the funeral. We spoke with Benjamin for the last two years about the service. He’d buried many of his fellow veterans and ensured that they at least had a Union Jack on their coffin. He was worried as he was one of the last remaining veterans that he wouldn’t get that.

“We ensured him that he would but I doubt he would have expected us to go as big as we have. I think we did much better and went much bigger than just a flag.

“I think he would have been really pleased and it was the right thing to do. Benjamin deserved a big send-off.

“It’s incredibly important that we remember Benjamin and all the people who fought in World War 2 and sacrificed so much for us. Everything we are now is because of them and their sacrifices.”

“I would like to thank Ian Morrall for all the work he has put in, the regiment for getting behind this, the reenactors who have supplied the 25-pounder and everyone who has come to show their respects. I really appreciate it.”

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Mr Boocock was called up aged 18 a week before the war began and served in the in the Royal Regiment of Artillery from 1939 to 1946. He served in Iceland, Nigeria and India and rose to the rank of sergeant in The Royal Regiment of Artillery in Burma at the end of the war

In recent years Mr Boocock attended all the main Remembrance Sunday services in Leeds along with his fellow old soldiers.

Mr Boocock was guest of honour at the Leeds Remembrance Day Service on November 11, 2018.

Mr Boocock, who worked as a master tailor after the war, is survived by his wife Audrey, three children Michael, Peter and Linda and his six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.