Death of D-Day hero Frank is a ‘big loss’ for Portsmouth

Frank Rosier 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141072-5)
Frank Rosier 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (141072-5)
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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HE SACRIFICED his youth and sight to protect future generations from a murderous dictator.

Now Portsmouth has paid tribute to one of the city’s last surviving D-Day heroes, Frank Rosier, who has died.

Frank was only 18 when he, along with thousands of other brave young men, stormed the beaches of Normandy in one of the most audacious amphibious assaults in history.

It was a horror that would never leave him – and one he was determined to share with others in an effort to avoid future wars.

Frank, of Cowplain, dedicated almost two decades of his life to supporting Southsea’s D-Day Museum, talking to visitors about his experiences in the war.

Andrew Whitmarsh, development officer at the site, said Frank’s death was a huge loss.

‘The city has lost a big character,’ he said. ‘He touched so many people who visited the museum.

‘Over the years many of those people wrote to him to say how much they enjoyed spending time with him. He will be missed by a lot of people out there.’

He added: ‘He had a great sense of humour and was always cracking jokes. He was very good at putting people at ease.’

Frank was an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, and was in the second wave on Gold Beach.

‘He used to say he stepped off the landing craft as a boy and as he made his way on the beach he became a man,’ Andrew said.

Three months after D-Day, Frank was hit by shrapnel from a mortar bomb near Le Harve while collecting eggs, causing him to lose his sight in one eye.

After the war, Frank was a secretary of Portsmouth’s Normandy Veterans’ Association before it disbanded in 2015 and helped stage the city’s 70th D-Day anniversary. He left his voluntary role at the museum in 2014.

Frank’s late wife Margaret died in 1997 aged 72, and his only son David died in 2009, aged 56.