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
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.