FAMILY and friends have said farewell to a man who played a key role during the D-Day invasion in the Second World War.
Albert Ronald Kenneth Green, known as Ken, died on Wednesday, September 4, aged 90 and his funeral was at Portchester Crematorium yesterday.
He was one of the first to land on Gold Beach in Normandy during the D-Day assault, with the important job of beach master. Many people’s lives depended on him during the invasion.
The service was led by Pastor Colin Dyer, from Alverstoke Evangelical Church, who said Ken was awarded a medal for bravery in the Second World War.
He said: ‘Ken had a great sense of humour, a quick wit and was very charming.’
Ken was born in Portsmouth in 1923 and, at 17, joined the navy. In 1944 he joined the Royal Naval Commandos.
During his time in the navy, Ken served aboard ships such as HMS Revenge and also went to the Falkland Islands where he met his wife, Agnes. Ken leaves behind a son, daughter and grandson, who all attended his funeral. His son, Patrick Green, came from Mozambique in Africa for the service.
Patrick, 58, said: ‘There are very few (who took part in the D-Day landings) left now. The Royal Naval Commandos disbanded the association about six years ago. Of his unit, I think he was the last alive.’
Also attending was Walter James, 75, from Gosport, who now works in the Fleet Air Arm Museum but served in Malaya, Borneo, Suez and Cyprus.
He said: ‘I was a friend of Ken’s for many years. Ken was a wonderful fellow. The bravest of the brave. He was one of the first to land on Gold Beach and was one of the last off. If you can imagine standing on that beach, under fire all that time. It doesn’t bear thinking about.’
The funeral hall was packed with friends, family and servicemen, who came to pay their respects.
Care home workers from Woodcot Lodge in Gosport, where Ken spent his final years, were also at the service.
Worker Pepi Nickolona said: ‘Ken had a good sense of humour and was a strong character. He was very independent. He was very close to his wife and family and we would often hear him sleep talking about his wife and children.’
Tony Crisp, 66, a bugler with the Royal Naval Association, from Waterlooville, played the Last Post when Ken’s coffin was committed.
He said: ‘We gave him a good send-off. It’s fantastic that so many came to pay their respects.
‘It’s really amazing that people are here.’