100-year-old Leeds World War Two veteran in doorstep Remembrance Day tribute to fallen comrades

A World War Two veteran from Leeds will wear his medals with pride when he remembers fallen comrades on a Remembrance Sunday like no other.

By Mark Lavery
Saturday, 7th November 2020, 6:00 am
Frank Reynolds
Frank Reynolds

Great-grandfather Frank Reynolds, who served with the Royal Engineers in Egypt during the war, plans to wear his medals when he stands at the gate outside his house in Cross Gates to observe the two minute silence at 11am on Sunday.

There will not be a service or military parade at Victoria Gardens in Leeds this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and people across the city are being urged to undertake their own acts of remembrance at home.

Mr Reynolds, who turned 100 in March, spent many years playing the bagpipes at Remembrance services across West Yorkshire when he was a member of the Pontefract and District Pipe Band from 1966 to 1990.

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Frank and Betty Reynolds pictured on their wedding day in Egypt on May 5 1945.

Mr Reynolds' son Richard, 74, said: "Dad is immensely proud of his time in the army. He always used to go to the Royal Engineers reunion.

"He did keep in touch with his former comrades, but sadly the majority of them have died now."

Mr Reynolds was called up aged 18 in August 1939 to the seventh/ninth Royal Scots, but soon to the Royal Engineers, serving most of his time in Egypt.

He met his late wife Betty, of the Auxiliary Territorial Service, in the Naafi canteen she managed in Egypt in July 1944.

Frank Reynolds Photo: James Hardisty

They married on May 5 1945 in Cairo, before a two-week honeymoon in Alexandria.

Betty Reynolds died aged 83 in 2003.

A 100th birthday party planned for Mr Reynolds with around 100 family and friends at the Barnbow Social Club in March had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The ongoing impact of the pandemic means Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Leeds and across the UK will look very different for everyone this year.

There will be a pre-recorded Act of Remembrance and wreath laying ceremony with the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Eileen Taylor , Lord-Lieutenant and Royal British Legion representatives.

Leeds residents can download an image of a poppy from the Royal British Legion website to display in windows to remember those who died.

People can also donate to the poppy appeal as a one off donation or a regular gift at www.britishlegion.org.uk/

Coun Taylor said: “Remembrance Sunday is a time when our city comes together to honour the heroic efforts, achievements and sacrifices made by so many of our armed forces during times of conflict.

"It fills me with great pride to still be laying a wreath as part of a pre-recorded event on behalf of the city as part of this year’s commemoration.

"I would like to encourage the people of Leeds to take the time to remember from the safety of their own homes the ultimate sacrifice paid by those to whom we owe so much.

Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake, said: “Our priority in the current climate is to prevent the rising spread of infection and even though there will be no public event in the city centre, we would encourage people to pay their respects at their local memorials at any time during Remembrance Week while maintaining social distancing.”