Military funeral for Leeds WW2 veteran who was regiment’s last survivor

LAST POST: Former Royal Regiment of Artillery sergeant Benjamin Boocock at the Leeds Remembrance Day Service on November 11 2018. PIC: Gerard Binks Photography
LAST POST: Former Royal Regiment of Artillery sergeant Benjamin Boocock at the Leeds Remembrance Day Service on November 11 2018. PIC: Gerard Binks Photography
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A WORLD War Two veteran’s final wish to have a military funeral is to be granted after his death aged 98.

Former artillery man Benjamin Boocock’s coffin will be carried on a gun carriage after a West Yorkshire army regiment answered the Leeds veteran’s plea to be buried with military honours.

Benjamin Boocock as a young soldier.

Benjamin Boocock as a young soldier.

Mr Boocock, of Bramhope, 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 late 2017, Mr Boocock contacted 269 (West Riding) Battery, Royal Artillery asking if they would keep his war diary safe after his death.

Captain Jonathan James of 269 Battery, who went to see Mr Boocock, said: “He said he had buried all of his friends from the war, ensuring that they all had a minimum of a Union Flag on their coffins.

“He was fearful that as the last surviving member of the World War Two West Riding Gunners he wouldn’t get that honour.

“I asked my commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Crookes, if he would support giving Benjamin a military funeral. He agreed that was certainly something the regiment should do.

“He said that ‘we must not forget the sacrifices that previous generations made and that we must honour those who served, just as we remember those who gave their lives in service.’”

Mr Boocock’s coffin will be carried on top of a 25-pounder field gun towed by a military vehicle - the equipment he used during the war.

The funeral service for Mr Boocock, who died on January 30, will be held at St John the Baptist Church in Adel at 11am on Saturday February 23.

All are welcome and many serving and retired soldiers are expected to attend.

FAMILY

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, 96.

He is also survived by his three children Michael, Peter and Linda and his six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.