Tributes are paid to Dunkirk veteran

Bill Hutchinson, who could possibly be the oldest pre-war veteran that served in Dunkirk, does a salute at hsi first every Remembrance Sunday Service at the War Memorial. Picture: Andrew Roe
Bill Hutchinson, who could possibly be the oldest pre-war veteran that served in Dunkirk, does a salute at hsi first every Remembrance Sunday Service at the War Memorial. Picture: Andrew Roe

A WAR hero believed to be Doncaster’s oldest surviving Dunkirk Veteran, has died aged 92.

Bill, was part of the British Expeditionary Force sent to France to head off the Nazi advance across Europe in September 1939.

In May 1940, unable to stop the German onslaught, nearly 350,000 troops were evacuated, with thousands left behind.

He returned to France in 1944 as part of the Normandy landings before he was demobbed in 1946 having been classed as 80 per cent war disabled after he was injured.

However, when he gave a rare interview to the Doncaster Free Press, Bill could not speak about what he went through following those harrowing times.

“I am quite a private man, I’m always being asked to tell my stories but I never will. People cannot imagine what we went through, ” he said at the time.

Mr Hutchinson was the vice-president of the Doncaster branch of the Royal British Legion for around 20 years

He was also a past chairman of the Dunkirk Veterans’ Association Doncaster branch and a founder chairman of the Yorkshire branch of the Market Garden Veterans’ Association - where he was later president - following his service in Arnhem, Holland. He led the tributes during the Remembrance Sunday parade through the town centre in 2011.

Bill Hutchinson, of Belle Vue, died in Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

He is survived by his son William and four grandsons.

His son William, said: “I loved him - he was a fantastic bloke.

“In some ways he was a private bloke but in others he was outgoing and chatty. At the hospital he would have a laugh with the nurses and remembered all their names, right to the end.

“He had his own business selling textiles and he became known as the ‘Nappy Man’. At one point he was supplying all the Co-Ops in England.

“My father was a gifted and charismatic person and became quite successful - he met the Royal Family and provided the cushions for medals at Windsor Castle.

“He retired early through ill-health, but he was always up to stuff, particularly with military matters. He would organise coach trips for veterans and tours of battle fields.

“We will all miss him a great deal.”

His close friend Jean Elliott, 77, of Armthorpe added: “Bill was a lovely man - I have known him and his late wife Peggy for about 60 years.

“He was very proud of his army career and kept all his faculties about him. He will be missed very much by his family and all who knew him.”

Bill compiled an impressive scrapbook of military history put together over 50 years.

He was particularly proud of his research, into various war heroes, including George Harry Wyatt, a former lance corporal of the Coldstream Guards during the First World War who was awarded the Victoria Cross. He was also asked to help with research into Dunkirk for an exhibition to be unveiled later this year at Brodsworth Hall.

A funeral service will be held at St George’s Minster on Wednesday, February 20, followed by cremation at Rose Hill Crematorium, Cantley.

Bill’s wife of nearly 60 years, Peggy, died aged 84 in 2009, and the couple’s daughter Karen died in February 2011,