A D-DAY veteran from Odiham sadly died on Thursday, July 28, just two days before his 96th birthday.

Alfie ‘Fred’ Lee, a much-loved member of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, died at his home with his family at his bedside.

Born on July 30, 1926, Fred had two brothers in the Navy. One of them was a paratrooper. They all returned home safely from the war.

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Fred volunteered in August 1943 when he was 17 and spent the war as a Stoker in the Royal Navy.

He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest military honour.

When asked a couple of years ago to recall memories from his 13 months in the Far East, Fred shared two interesting anecdotes with the Taxi Charity.

He said: “We went to Bombay [now Mumbai in India] via Aiden on HMS Nith and when we were in Bombay, we picked up five landing craft to take to Rangoon.

“Unbelievably my brother Frank was on one of the landing craft!

“I hadn’t seen him or heard from him for a long time and had no idea that we had both been involved in D Day in Normandy a year earlier.”

Fred also shared a story of him being hospitalised in India.

He said: “During my two weeks leave in the Himalayas, I was keeping goal during a football match between the Navy and the Army and was hit between the legs by the ball and ended up in Bombay hospital.

“While in hospital my ship was due to leave port and my Petty Officer visited me in hospital and said, ‘Stoker Lees, here’s your kit bag and a train ticket get yourself to Madras.’  

“Following orders, I had a very hot and fly-ridden 12-hour train journey, on my own to Madras, where I re-joined the ship.”

Fred married Joyce in 1947 and they had three children Kevin, Karen, and Katrina.

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His family said: “As well as his family, Fred treasured his friends. Always greeting them with a big smile, handshake, or a hug. So many people are missing him. He was a lovely man.”

Dick Goodwin, vice president of Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “For as long as I can remember Fred has been with us on our Taxi Charity trips. As well as being an important part of the Taxi Charity family he was a popular member of the Surrey branch of the Normandy Veterans Association. Always positive and smiling he will be greatly missed by us all.”

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