D-Day veteran dies after school assembly collapse

TRIBUTES have been paid to a D-Day veteran who suffered a fatal heart attack moments after addressing a primary school assembly about his wartime experiences.

Simon Tomlinson

TRIBUTES have been paid to a D-Day veteran who suffered a fatal heart attack moments after addressing a primary school assembly about his wartime experiences.

Fred Wormald, of Ipswich Road, Holbrook, had just finished speaking to pupils at Holbrook Primary School when he collapsed.

The 84-year-old, who was chairman of the Holbrook branch of the Royal British Legion, died in hospital the following day, on the eve of Armistice Day.


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On the previous Sunday, Mr Wormald had read out the names of the Holbrook men who had died in the two world wars during a Remembrance service at the village's All Saints Church.

Fellow members of the Holbrook Branch of the Royal Legion said Mr Wormald had served the organisation with distinction to the end.

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His family have described him as a “devoted husband, much-loved father, grandfather and great grandfather, who will be greatly missed by all members of his family and many friends.”

Dorothy, his wife of 57 years, said: “I will miss really miss him. I keep talking to him now. People thought the world of him and I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their best wishes.”

His son-in-law, Andrew Turner, a senior chaplain in the RAF, said: “He was the best father-in-law I could wish for. He would laugh so much at his own jokes, which were absolutely rubbish, but his laugh made you laugh.”

Mr Wormald was just 19 when he was a member of the 7th Armoured Division, also known as the Desert Rats, which landed at Gold Beach in Normandy the day after D-Day.

Mr Wormald had never spoken about his experiences until around 10 years ago following persistent requests from his children and grandchildren.

In 2004, he visited the war graves in France for the first time to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings and returned in May this year for the 65th anniversary despite suffering a major heart attack and stroke three months earlier.

Mr Wormald, who worked in the works department of the East of England Co-op, was also a regular member of Holbrook Methodist Church, serving as a church steward for many years.

In his youth he had been well known as a footballer, playing for Woolverstone. He was also a keen gardener and cyclist.

A funeral service was held at All Saints Church on Monday and he has been buried next to the war memorial in St Peter's Churchyard in Freston.

He is also survived by two daughters - Liz, 56, and Sally, 53 - five grandchildren and a great-grandson.

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