A WW2 veteran has attended the 75th anniversary events of Dutch city he helped liberate.
George ‘Bunny’ Avery, who lives at the Royal Star & Garter Home in High Wycombe, attended a series of commemorative events with his daughter Kathryn, between Friday 14th and Sunday 16th February 2020 at Gennep and Nijmegen in Holland to mark the 75th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi Germany.
The 97 year old served in the Royal Engineers as a Sapper and built Bailey bridges throughout Europe to help support the Allied advance into Nazi-occupied Europe.
The crossing Bunny helped build over the River Waal during and following the Battle of Nijmegen in 1944 was the longest Bailey bridge in the world at 4,008ft and helped free the city from enemy forces.
Bunny was one of five veterans invited to attend the series of events and commemorations. Also present were relatives of troops who never returned from the Battle of Nijmegen. The weekend included visits to Milsbeek War Cemetery and a battlefield tour of Groesbeek, lunch with the Mayor of Gennep and a concert.
His daughter said afterwards: ‘He had a wonderful time. He always says he’s not a hero, and that the heroes are the ones that didn’t return. He feels it’s an honour to attend these events and pay his respects to the people that didn’t come home.‘
Bunny, who is also a D-Day veteran, was born in Birmingham and returned there when he left the Army in 1947, living there until 2006. Today he lives at the Royal Star & Garter in High Wycombe. In 2016 he was awarded France’s highest military honour, the Legion d’Honneur, as thanks from the government for his role in its liberation.
Royal Star & Garter is a charity which provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
Further information about Royal Star & Garter Homes and the care they provide can be found on the Royal Star & Garter Homes website at https://starandgarter.org/our-homes-and-care/life-in-our-homes/.
*Source of information : Press release from Royal Star & Garter.