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United Kingdom

Veterans launch call to arms urging well-wishers to attend D-Day hero's funeral

Veterans have launched a nationwide call-to-arms urging people to attend the funeral of a D-Day veteran after he passed away aged 101 with only a few surviving relatives. 

War hero Reginald 'Reg' Tegg was a Sapper with the Royal Engineers and died at a nursing home in Sarisbury Green, near Southampton, Hampshire, on September 22.

Mr Tegg received the Légion D'honneur for risking his life to clear minefields during Nazi attacks and was part of a valiant rear-guard defence during the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation.

Reginald Tegg with a card from the Queen on his 100th birthday. Mr Tegg died at a nursing home Sarisbury Green, near Southampton, Hampshire, on September 22, aged 101 

But now it is feared the 'quiet' veteran will not get the hero's send-off he deserves, after passing away at a nursing home without any friends and little family.

A military association has launched an urgent appeal for mourners to pay their respects at his funeral next week, which is so far only expected to be attended by a handful of surviving relatives. 

Mr Tegg pictured during the Second World War when he served as a Royal Engineer clearing minefields across several battles

Retired Corporal Mark Stevens, chairman of the Solent and District Branch Royal Engineers Association, issued the appeal after hearing of the war hero's death.

The Iraq and Afghanistan veteran said: 'I sadly never had the chance to meet Reg. But as soon as I heard he had died I knew we had to do something.

'Reg's generation - the greatest generation - is now very few in number. These guys were willing, without a moment's hesitation, to put themselves in the firing line to save their country and the world from Nazism.

'It's vitally important we remember them.'

His wife Mary, 86, will be at the funeral along with his daughter Mandy, 47,  three grandchildren - Ashley, 22, Nathan, 21, and Marshall, 16 and nephew Martin Oates, 55.

However hundreds of people have responded to the Facebook plea to urge people to attend the war hero's send off at Portchester Crematorium, Fareham, Hampshire, at 11.15am on October 15. 

Mr Tegg pictured receiving a birthday surprise from the Royal Engineers Association to mark his 101st birthday in June. He is pictured with nephew, Martin Oates, 55, who is a Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy.

His daughter Mandy was stunned by the response and said: 'It has brought me to tears more than once.

'He was a doting grandfather who loved his grandchildren. They couldn't have asked for a better grandfather.' 

Mr Tegg served in three major amphibious assaults against the Germans, avoiding death during invasions of Sicily, Italy, and Normandy, France, in the Second World War.

Mr Tegg pictured with his wife, Mary, now 86

He was part of the first wave to land on Gold Beach during the pivotal invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 - six days before his 26th birthday.

Under constant fire, he was tasked with clearing the beach of Nazi mines and was later awarded France's highest military honour for bravery - the Légion D'honneur.

Four years before D-Day, Mr Tegg was also part of a valiant rear-guard defence during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

Serving with the French, he was tasked with blowing up bridges to stall the German advance and to give rescue teams a chance to save the 100,000 stranded Allied troops.

He eventually fled on a French fishing boat and was one of the last to leave the beach.

The veteran later narrowly survived the annihilation of his unit- 232 Field Company - during the siege of Tobruk, North Africa, before clearing a minefield at night ahead of the pivotal victory at El Alamein, in Egypt.

Amphibious invasions of Sicily and Salerno in Italy followed before returning to the UK with the 50th Northumbrian division to take part in D-Day.

Mr Tegg gallantly fought through the rest of the war before being demobbed in 1946, returning home and spending the rest of his working life as a gardener.

Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer and Mr Tegg's nephew Mr Oates added: 'He was 101 and for six of those years it was carnage, stress and chaos.

'He lived peacefully after that. He was a quiet hero.'

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