‘WE WILL never have heroes like Bobby again – he is the last of a generation’.
These are the touching words of tributes by the family and friends of decorated D-Day veteran Bobby Tallack, who are now demanding Portsmouth never forgets the sacrifices he and his fellow soldiers made a lifetime ago.
The proud 101-year-old from Portsmouth was given a hero’s send-off at his funeral, receiving a military salute from fellow veterans as his casket – draped in the Union flag – was carried into Portchester Crematorium.
Bobby was hailed as a hero by France, receiving the nation’s top medal for valour for his actions during the pivotal 1944 invasion which turned the tide of the war.
Aged 29 and serving with the Royal Engineers, Bobby was one of the first men to land on Gold Beach in Normandy and was forced to dodge high-explosive shells and Nazi machine gun rounds.
He then fought across France and into Germany where he helped to liberate the Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps – as well as arresting a number of fanatical SS guards.
His grieving daughter Tricia Cain said Bobby was an ‘extraordinary dad’ with ‘a heart of gold’.
‘His loss is massive to us,’ said Tricia, of Locksway Road, Milton. ‘Dad would do anything for anybody. He was just an amazing man.
‘He fought to make our country what it is today. He just did it without question.
‘I just don’t ever want people to forget about what my dad did during the war. He is a hero.’
City leaders have since praised Bobby for his courage in the war.
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said Bobby’s heroism is something the city should never forget.
She said: ‘Bobby and his peers are responsible for liberating millions from tyranny.
‘The courage and determination they had, in the face of danger and appalling inhumanity, is humbling.
‘We should never forget what they did, nor their modesty, and we should cherish and defend their legacy: shared humanity, peace and strong resolved defence. They were and are remarkable people.’
Bobby was born on November 2, 1915. He was the only boy of five children.
Growing up he lived in Garfield Road, Buckland. Leaving school at 14 he eventually went to work at Portsmouth dockyard.
When war broke out in 1939 Bobby volunteered to join the army. His bravery during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, earned him the Legion d’Honneur in 2015.
Friend Nigel Dowland, 54, of Portsmouth attended the veteran’s funeral. He was part of a guard of honour that saluted his old pal as he arrived at the crematorium.
Mr Dowland said: ‘He is one of the last Normandy veterans. We’re losing true heroes almost on a daily basis. It’s very sad.’
After the war Bobby moved back to Portsmouth where he met his wife Gwenda – who died just five weeks before Bobby earlier this year, aged 90. Together they had two children, Peter and Tricia.
He had several jobs but most notably ran an antiques dealers in Castle Road, Southsea for many years.
His popular haunt was the Auckland Arms, in Southsea, where he used to enjoy a pint with friends.
Granddaughter Abi Tallack-Cain, 28, said: ‘He was a great granddad. He was always full of pride. He was an inspiration.
‘I loved him to bits. It’s an immense loss for the family and for his friends.’
Bobby leaves behind his last remaining child, Tricia and his one granddaughter, Abi.