Bideford D-Day veteran who died aged 97 was ‘warm and friendly’

Bill Baverstock being presented with the Legion d'Honneur at a special ceremony at RMB Chivenor. Pic

Bill Baverstock being presented with the Legion d'Honneur at a special ceremony at RMB Chivenor. Picture: Matt Smart - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a D-Day veteran from Bideford who has died aged 97.

William Baverstock, known as Bill, died at his home at Ethelwynne Brown Close on Sunday, November 25.

His close friend and carer, Sandy Webb, described him as a ‘warm and friendly’ person who would be sorely missed.

Bill was a Royal Marine in the 27th Battalion, and landed at Normandy on D Day with the 7th County Infantry Brigade group.

Last June he was formally appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur at a ceremony at RMB Chivenor.During the Normandy landings Bill was a medic and he made several trips to the UK returning casualties from the frontline.

Sandy said the veteran didn’t talk a lot about his time in the war, but when he did, he said it was ‘just a job we had to do’.

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Sandy, who lived next door to Bill for 14 years and became his carer during the last three, said he had one son, and was a widower to his beloved Gracie, who died seven years ago.

She said: “When we moved in Bill was very warm and friendly and helped us a lot.

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“He loved being a medic in the war and talking about how different things are now with things like health and safety.

“After the war he worked in a cigarette factory. He moved to Bideford 47 years ago from Bromley.

“He used to love watching football, he watched it all the time, and he used to be a boxer.

“He loved boxing, I have a lot of black and white photos of him from his boxing days.”

In his later years, Bill enjoyed taking his moblity scooter along the Tarka Trail.

“He always had a thing about carrying dog biscuits in his coat or suit jackets,” she said.

“He used to go along the Tarka Trail and he would stop every time he saw a dog, give it a fuss and a biscuit. He loved dogs.

“He was quite independent but when he fractured his hip last year I think he just gave up.”

Bill’s funeral will be held at North Devon Crematorium in Barnstaple on Wednesday, December 12, at 10.20am.

It is understood the veteran didn’t have many friends or family and a Facebook event has been set up urging people to come pay their respects at his funeral.

His two chosen charities were Royal Marines Association and Children’s Hospice South West.

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