'I will remember you' - funeral of D-Day hero Jim Palfrey

The funeral has taken place for D-Day veteran James 'Jim' Palfrey from Bury St Edmunds

The funeral has taken place for D-Day veteran James 'Jim' Palfrey from Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Malcolm Palfrey

Mourners have turned out to say 'farewell' to D-Day hero James 'Jim' Palfrey, who died aged 101.

Known as Jim or Gentleman Jim, Mr Palfrey from Suffolk was one of the last surviving veterans involved in the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.

James Palfrey was a gunner and rose to the rank of sergeant 

James Palfrey was a gunner and rose to the rank of sergeant - Credit: Supplied by family

He passed away on New Year's Day and his funeral today, January 26, at St Peter's Church in Bury St Edmunds was a celebration of his long life.

The "military man" from Bury St Edmunds was honoured with standard bearers from the Normandy Veterans' Association and the Royal Artillery Association, and teenager Imogen Norman played the Last Post later in the service. 

James Palfrey was a member of the Royal British Legion and the Normandy Veterans' Association

After many years with the TA, James Palfrey finally left as a Warrant Officer but immediately joined the Royal British Legion and also the Normandy Veterans' Association when it was formed in 1981 - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Palfrey landed on Gold Beach, Normandy, France, with the Suffolk Yeomanry on D-Day to liberate north-west Europe from the Nazis.

During the eulogy, his son Malcolm said "Gunner Jim was very lucky" because as he crossed the English Channel a German bomb landed amidships, but it failed to explode.

The funeral was held at St Peter's Church in Bury St Edmunds

The funeral was held at St Peter's Church in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He was part of the 55th Anti-Tank Regiment (Suffolk Yeomanry), Royal Artillery, which joined the 49th West Riding Division as D-Day approached.

Malcolm said his father received the Legion of Honour in 2015 for his help in liberating France, taking his medal tally up to nine - six British and three French. 

There were standard bearers from the Normandy Veterans' Association and the Royal Artillery Association

There were standard bearers from the Normandy Veterans' Association and the Royal Artillery Association - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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He said when he saw a newspaper headline about his father reading 'Goodbye to D-Day Hero' he was very proud.

He said: "Dad was always a ‘military man’. From initial Territorial Army (TA) days in 1938, then six years of World War II, then straight back into the TA after demob and still only 26 years old."

One of Suffolk's last D-Day veteran James 'Gentleman Jim' Palfrey. Pictured in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

One of Suffolk's last D-Day veterans James 'Gentleman Jim' Palfrey. Pictured in the rose garden in the Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Malcolm Palfrey

He added: "Dad fought in battles in Caen and Le Havre, then into Belgium, then Arnhem in Holland finally into Germany at Kurl and Dortmund.

"Dad was a ‘Counter Mortar’ gunner tasked with detecting and destroying German mortar positions."

Mr Palfrey was married to Olive for 73 years and they had two sons: Malcolm and Clive, who passed away from cancer aged 73. 

James Palfrey and his wife Olive, who were married for 73 years. Pictured in their Bury St Edmunds garden

James Palfrey and his wife Olive, who were married for 73 years. Pictured in their Bury St Edmunds garden - Credit: Malcolm Palfrey

The couple moved into a house in Whiting Street the year Malcolm was born. Mrs Palfrey passed away in 2015 aged 94.

Malcolm said: "Dad loved his garden in Whiting Street. He entered Bury Hidden Gardens every year; hundreds of people squeezing down the alley beside the house to see the garden – daffodils, tulips, salvias all in straight lines - military style! Grass edges pristine!"

James Palfrey received the Legion of Honour in 2015 for his help in liberating France

James Palfrey received the Legion of Honour in 2015 for his help in liberating France - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

He described his father, who worked at Greene King for 49 years, as "very supportive".

At the end of the eulogy, he said: "I’d like to borrow, and slightly change, a part of the Remembrance exaltation: At the going down of the sun and in the morning, I will always remember you dad."

Mr Palfrey leaves his son Malcolm, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.