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Bidding farewell to Bert Evans, a true hero
1:20pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
FRIENDS, family, military personnel past and present, and members of the public, gathered at Redditch crematorium on Thursday, October 10 to bid farewell to Bert Evans, a Dunkirk veteran and true hero.
Mr Evans, aged 92, of St David's House, Batchley, was part of D Company, 2nd Warwickshire Regiment, fighting the Nazis in 1940, when Mr Evans was 19.
On May 28, some of the company's men were captured by the SS and herded into a barn in Esquelbecq, in northern France, where nearly 100 of them were brutally massacred.
Mr Evans was one of few who escaped after he was dragged from the front of the barn by Captain James Frazer Lynn-Allen.
But he was severely wounded by grenades thrown into the barn and later had his right arm amputated when he was recaptured by the Germans.
His captain was killed instantly after being shot in the head as he and Mr Evans tried to hide in a pond.
In a speech at the funeral entitled ‘My Best Friend”, Ian Hall said: “Today we pay homage to my friend Bert Evans, a man of honour, bravoury and moral courage.
“During the Second World War, people like Bert paved the way for future generations to live in peace.”
And he spoke of an occasion in 2005 when Mr Evans was invited to Coventry Cathedral by the International Friendship and Reconcilliation Trust, to shake hands with the German and Japanese ambassadors, as a show of forgiveness for the parts both played in the way.
Mr Evans did so, and said: “It is time for forgiveness on both sides.”
Mr Hall told everyone gathered to pay their respects to his friend: “It took not only a man with vision to do this, but a very wise one. Hate can be all-consuming, and self-destructive.”
He said that despite numerous medical problems over the years, including strokes, and losing the sight in one eye, Mr Evans always had a smile for people.
In an emotional farewell to his friend, Mr Hall added: “Well Bert, all your problems are over now.
“The good lord will be saying ‘Give him back his arm, as I want to shake his hand’.”
Numerous tribute wreaths and arrangements were left for Mr Evans, including one from the Birmingham Dunkirk Veterans & Fellowship, which read: “A Dunkirk veteran. He fought for his country. We will always remember him and never forget him.”
Other organisations represented at the funeral included the Royal Warwickshire Association, the Redditch Royal British Legion, and many others from the region.
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