FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a popular Basingstoke figure and Naval veteran who leaves behind a legacy that resonates far beyond his years.

Stan Richardson, a Royal Navy veteran who served on HMS Nelson and HMS Illustrious during the Second World War, passed away at a nursing home at the age of 104.

Born on October 13, 1919, in Harrogate, Stan's life was intertwined with the noble call of duty from an early age.

At the age of 16, he embarked on a remarkable journey by joining the Royal Navy as a boy seaman in April 1936.

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His commitment and valour were evident as he volunteered for 12 years of service on his 18th birthday, marking the official beginning of his naval career.

During the tumult of the Second World War, Stan stood steadfast on the decks of HMS Nelson and HMS Illustrious, ships that became synonymous with heroism and sacrifice.

His service took him across the globe, from the tranquil shores of Bermuda to the dense jungles of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he played a pivotal role in clearing the land to establish vital airfields.

Beyond his naval exploits, Stan was a loving husband to Mu, a Navy Wren, and a devoted father to his son, Stuart.

Stuart remembers his dad as a hero in his family and a super guy who was loved by everybody.

He said: “Dad was so generous to all the family and even though dad was a true Yorkshire man he was always the first to be at the head of the queue to pay the bill, bless him.

“Every Christmas the family would be sat around the table and waiting to hear one of Stan's war stories. We were all gripped and boy, he had some very gripping navy stories, from all over the world."

Stan's post-war years saw him transition into civilian life, where he continued to excel as an area manager for Rumbelows, a role that took him across the south of England.

Retirement brought him to East Preston, West Sussex, where he found solace in the quietude of coastal living.

The memorial service and internment of Stan's ashes, held on Thursday, January 25, at St Leonard's Church, was a poignant tribute befitting a man of his stature.

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Led by Rev Karen West and Rev John Morley, the service resonated with heartfelt reminiscences of Stan's Navy days and his remarkable career thereafter.

A fitting military theme, complete with bagpipes, buglers, and standard bearers, paid homage to his service to the nation.

As Stan's ashes found their resting place, the sun broke through the clouds, casting a heavenly glow on the solemn proceedings.

His family, friends, and comrades gathered at a reception that followed at Sherfield Oaks Golf Club to share his cherished memories and anecdotes.

The gallery above shows pictures from the memorial service.