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Tributes to brave Normandy veteran following death at 96

Tributes have been paid to a Second World War veteran and long-time Maidenhead resident following his death at the age of 96.

Stan Swansborough lived in the town for more than 55 years, moving from London in 1963 with his late wife.

He died on February 12 at a Chichester care home, where he was staying.

Born in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, Stan soon moved south to Uphaven, in Wiltshire, with his father, and left school at the age of 14.

His early working years saw him work part-time at an RAF camp as a civilian, and in March 1943, Stan became a serving soldier and joined the Royal Signals Association Bikers, where he was a dispatch rider.

During his time with the forces, Stan served in the Second World War, as well as the Normandy battle in northern France.

He left the army in 1947, two years after marrying his wife, with whom he had two children.

The pair started living in a flat in West London before moving to nearby Chiswick, where daughter Jane was born. They then settled in Maidenhead for more than five decades.

“Before lockdown, he really liked going into Maidenhead to have a coffee and a sausage roll at Greggs,” Jane told the Advertiser.

“He was always there – always doing stuff. He was not one of those people who would just sit about.”

Stan also had four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and particularly enjoyed gardening at his Cookham Road allotment, and golfing at Winter Hill.

His working life after the war saw him work for the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) – now known as British Airways – where he worked from 1955 until his retirement in the mid-1990s, enabling Stan to take staff trips to all corners of the world.

But it was on a recent trip to Normandy – in 2019 – where Jane recalled her father remembering aspects of the landscape he had witnessed in battle some 75 years prior.

In June 2014, Stan was awarded the coveted Legion of Honour award, a French medal reserved for the most deserving in their field.

“Everyone said how kind and thoughtful he was,” she added. “If anyone needed anything, he was always the first to say ‘what can I do?’”

Jane recalled that her father had received help from various eyesight charities, including Maidenhead Blind Club, the Macular Society and Blind Veterans UK.

Stan’s funeral is due to be held on Tuesday at Easthampstead Park Crematorium in Wokingham.

His journey there will be accompanied by the Royal Signals, with the road through the park lined by serving soldiers.

Jane added: “He would have loved it.”

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