No room on popular bus for legion chief

No room on popular bus for legion chief

A TRIP proved so popular that the chairman of Batley’s Royal British Legion had to be left behind.

Alan Roberts, 57, missed out on the group’s visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire on Wednesday.

He gave up his seat so that others could go after the branch was boosted by new members.

Among the recruits are two people who signed up at Batley’s Vintage Day two weeks ago.

Alan, of Carr Street, Birstall, said: “It’s the first trip in years and there was a lot of interest in going to the arboretum.”

They travelled from the Batley Nash – where meetings are held monthly on Wednesdays at 11am.

One of those who went on the trip was 93-year-old D-Day veteran and branch “mascot” Joe Weaver (pictured). The Sunderland native, of Mount Avenue, White Lee, served in the Royal Artillery and was awarded a number of medals.

One was for the Battle of Britain and jovial Joe joked: “The air force think it was all them but we had a role as well.”

He landed at Juno Beach on June 13 1944 as part of a mobile unit seven days after the main Normandy landings.

Joe, who later worked at Samuel Birkett and Sons in Cleckheaton, directed artillery fire.

Brother-in-law Sam Wilson had been killed three days earlier while serving with the 6th Airborne Division.

Joe, a guest at the 1940s-themed Vintage Day, is something of a celebrity everywhere he goes due to being one of the last of Britain’s serving wartime generation.

He met Prince Charles and Gordon Brown at the D-Day 60th anniversary in 2004.

For the 70th anniversary last year Joe made an emotional visit to Normandy, where he saw the US landing sites at Utah and Omaha beaches.

Joe said: “People wanted their picture taken with me and my autograph. It was almost like being famous. I tend to get a bit embarrassed because there’s many others who did a lot more than me.”

Share this post