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D-Day veteran who sold poppies in Godalming for 15 years to be laid to rest

3 minute read
D-Day veteran who sold poppies in Godalming for 15 years to be laid to rest

Published at 6:00am 26th September 2019. (Updated at 11:52am 26th September 2019)

A World War II veteran who spent 15 years selling poppies in Godalming once retired will be laid to rest today. 

William Laing passed away recently, aged 92. 

His daughter, Alison Laing, wants to invite the wider community to celebrate his life in Grayshott later: "I'm just trying to do something to give him the best send off he deserves, for a hero he doesn't think he is", she said. 

It's thought William was one of the last D-Day veterans in Surrey.

He signed up to work in the service in 1942 and didn't leave until 1978, serving with the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy and was trained by Prince Philip. Alison explained some of his past:

"He worked on the Mulberry Harbour from age 14.

He would sail from Southampton - taking troops and tanks over to the beaches and making sure they were okay. He'd then go back and collect the bodies."

"He served the country very quietly, he never spoke much about what he did. If anyone asked him he'd claim he did 'as little as possible..."

"But he had quite a few medals. You don't get that for doing nothing!"

William Laing
William served in the Royal Navy for over 30 years and was trained by Prince Philip.

Once retired, William spent around 15 years selling poppies for the Royal British Legion, something he was passionate about according to his daughter:

"He loved to sell poppies. He was out in all weathers, mainly at Sainsbury's in Godalming where he could be seen up until about 3 years ago, I think would be the last time he did it.

"He was involved with the Chiddingfold British Legion, until they disbanded. He loved doing it. There were poppy boxed everywhere!"

"He had the most wonderful sense of humour, he could make a joke out of anything.

"He was very loving father, especially with me as a child. I have lots of memories of him. He was a wonderful man."

William Laing
William met his wife whilst serving in the forces.

William will be laid to rest in Grayshot today but his Alison says the coffin will pass though Godalming and Chiddingfold, where he lived in his later life.

"Anyone is welcome to come and pay their respects. We just want to give him the best send off he deserves, for a hero he doesn't think he is."

The funeral will take place at: Green Acres, Heatherley Wood, Grayshott Road at 1pm. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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