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'We are so proud of him' - Family pay tribute to 97-year-old Ipswich war veteran

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 October 2019

Ipswich war veteran Tony Booth has died aged 97. Picture: IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL & CENOTAPH

Ipswich war veteran Tony Booth has died aged 97. Picture: IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL & CENOTAPH

IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL & CENOTAPH

The son of 97-year-old Tony Booth from Ipswich, who served in the Second World War, has paid tribute to his father's 'memorable character' after he died from cancer last week.

Tony Booth, here with wife Gwen, was in the Army for the first 20 years of their married life. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILYTony Booth, here with wife Gwen, was in the Army for the first 20 years of their married life. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILY

Holder of France's Legion d'Honneur, Mr Booth, of Cambridge Drive, served in the 49th Royal Tank Regiment during the Second World War and later became a member of Suffolk's Royal British Legion and chairman of the Normandy Veterans Association in Colchester.

He died on Thursday, October 10 after suffering with bladder cancer, just a few months after his wife Gwen, who he was married to for more than 76 years, also passed away.

Speaking of his father, Ian Booth, said: "It's a very sad time for the family, especially for my young children who have lost both their grandparents.

"But my dad had a great life which I know he appreciated very much as he knew not everyone was lucky enough to make it through the war.

Ipswich World War II veteran Tony Booth has died age 97. Picture: IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL & CENOTAPHIpswich World War II veteran Tony Booth has died age 97. Picture: IPSWICH WAR MEMORIAL & CENOTAPH

"He was very proud of his service and we are very proud of him."

Mr Booth entered the British Army in 1938 at the age of 16 and served for 30 years in the Royal Tank Regiment.

Leaving the military as a Captain Quartermaster Technical, Mr Booth also served in the Far East and Hong Kong.

On D-Day, he landed at Gold Beach at 6.30am in one of the first tanks to go up the beach on D-Day, and went on to fight through to Belgium, France and eventually Germany.

Gwen and Tony Booth were happily married for 76 years. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILYGwen and Tony Booth were happily married for 76 years. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILY

Mr Booth then came to Ipswich at the age of 49 in 1971, after marrying Gwen who he met in the Lake District in 1942.

The pair and their young children set up home here in Ipswich, where Mr Booth worked as an education welfare officer for Suffolk County Council until he retired at the age of 65.

His son Ian, who works as a civil engineer and lives in Sproughton, said his father "loved Ipswich and the whole climate of East Anglia".

He added: "My dad was very outgoing, he was always up for a laugh and he was an incredibly intelligent man. He wasn't afraid to speak his mind either."

Tony Booth proudly served in the Second World War Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILYTony Booth proudly served in the Second World War Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILY

"It's nice to know that my parents will be back together again," added Ian.

After retiring in 1987, the couple moved back to the Lake District and had a bungalow built three or so miles outside Penrith, which was Gwen's hometown.

One day they got a call from former neighbours in Ipswich who said a bungalow in their former street was coming on the market.

The Booths bought it and moved back to their old road in 1994 - two doors down from where they used to live.

Tony and Gwen Booth met in the spring of 1942 and were married that summer. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILYTony and Gwen Booth met in the spring of 1942 and were married that summer. Picture: THE BOOTH FAMILY

A joint burial has been created at Millenium Cemetery in Ipswich - which son Ian helped to create in his engineering career - allowing the two to be together once again.

Mr Booth's funeral will be held on Friday, November 15 at 1pm at All Saints Church in Sproughton.

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