Funeral to­day of naval vet­eran and com­mu­nity fig­ure

D-Day vet­eran Tom Cot­ting­ham worked in print in­dus­try, on the town’s roads and as a dust­man

Aldershot News & Mail - - NEWS -

THE life of a Sec­ond World War vet­eran who was in­volved in the D-Day land­ings be­fore mak­ing a lo­cal con­tri­bu­tion to the Alder­shot com­mu­nity, will be cel­e­brated at his funeral to­day (Thurs­day).

Born in Alder­shot in 1925, Tom Cot­ting­ham lived in the town all his life and started his ca­reer in the print trade, as an ap­pren­tice at Gale and Polden, which printed the Alder­shot News.

When war broke out, he was called up and served in the Royal Navy from 1943 un­til Fe­bru­ary 1947. He was in the Royal Naval Pa­trol Ser­vice, serv­ing on minesweep­ers in the North Sea and coastal ar­eas and his ship is thought to have fer­ried se­nior naval of­fi­cers to and from the Nor­mandy beaches, on June 6, 1944.

Af­ter the war, Mr Cot­ting­ham re­turned to Alder­shot and worked for a dif­fer­ent print­ing com­pany – John Drew – be­fore be­ing em­ployed by the now-de­funct Alder­shot Bor­ough Coun­cil on the roads with his fa­ther, also called Tom. He be­came a dust­man un­til he took early re­tire­ment in the 1980s.

He mar­ried June Austin, from Tong­ham, in 1951 and his wife passed away in 2004 af­ter a 53-year mar­riage.

Along­side his em­ploy­ment, he was sec­re­tary of the darts club at the for­mer Out­back Vol­un­teer pub, in Alder­shot, and helped out a num­ber of the pub’s land­lords.

He was also a vol­un­teer at Ash United Foot­ball Club.

For a num­ber of years he was in­volved in the Royal Naval As­so­ci­a­tion’s Alder­shot branch, the Alder­shot Royal Bri­tish Le­gion and the Nor­mandy Vet­eran’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

Mr Cot­ting­ham passed away peace­fully, aged 89, at Frim­ley Park Hos­pi­tal on July 19 af­ter a very short ill­ness, which lead to heart fail­ure. He leaves be­hind an older sis­ter and younger brother.

His only child, for­mer coun­cil­lor Steve Cot­ting­ham, said he was ‘ hon­oured’ that his fa­ther had helped him in his po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns to win the Hamp­shire County Coun­cil by-elec­tion for Alder­shot North, in 1984, and then the Rush­moor Bor­ough Coun­cil seat for Belle Vue ward – now North Town – in 1990.

He said: “He will be greatly missed by fam­ily and the great num­ber of friends, neigh­bours and ac­quain­tances he had made over many years as an Alder­shot res­i­dent.”

Mr Cot­ting­ham’s funeral is be­ing held at Alder­shot Cre­ma­to­rium to­day at 3pm and all are wel­come.

Tom Cot­ting­ham, who took part in the D-Day op­er­a­tion, was in­volved in The Out­back Vol­un­teer’s darts club and helped at Ash United Foot­ball Club.

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