A Second World War veteran has passed away, just days after being awarded the Legion D’Honneur, the highest military honour from France.
Fred Manning, who’d told Eastbourne Buzz only a week ago, he planned to reach his 100th birthday, sadly died on Thursday (1 December). Fred had served in the Royal Navy during WW2 and was part of the liberation of France, for which he was honoured on Saturday 26 November.
After being awarded his medal, Fred told Eastbourne Buzz, “I feel proud. Very, very proud. I never ever thought anything like this would happen, so I’m very, very proud and lucky to be alive, I suppose.”
Speaking of her father, Fred’s daughter, Sue Wright, who lives in Surrey, said, “Dad and Mum moved to Eastbourne from Peckham about 24 years ago, after retirement. He cared for Mum until she passed away 11 years ago.
“Since then, he has always remained active, getting out and about, visiting the US with his good friend Alan, and until recently played ten pin bowling twice a week. Despite becoming frailer in recent months, he was determined to be independent and take care of himself, doing all his own shopping cooking and housework.
“He had only left hospital on the Thursday (24 November), but was determined to get to the medal ceremony. We console ourselves with the fact that he had a lovely day last Saturday, which included a 3 course lunch at which he ate more than all of us. He was a character and we will all miss him greatly!”
Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, David Tutt, who knew Fred well, said, “I was devastated to hear that Fred had passed away but I was delighted for him that he was able to get to his ceremony at the town hall. That meant so much to him and you could see how pleased he was to have his family around him, to have that honour from France. It was almost as if he was living for it. May he rest in peace and my thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”