War hero calls for Chelsea Hospital in Manchester
ASECOND World War hero is calling for a Chelsea Hospital-style home for elderly soldiers to be built in Manchester.
John Clarke MBE wants the community, politicians and veterans’ organisations to get behind his campaign to have the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners, replicated in the north west.
Widower John, from Aldermary Road, Chorlton, says the home he envisages would be in addition to and different from existing facilities for veterans in the north west, such as Broughton House in Salford and the new armed forces community village proposed for Wigan.
Chelsea Pensioners, known by their distinctive uniform, forfeit their pensions in exchange for a place at the home.
John, who served in North Africa, Italy, Greece and Palestine and was awarded the MBE for services to veterans seven years ago, said: “I was once in a pub in Chelsea, and when two pensioners came in, everyone got up and asked them what they wanted to drink.
“People look at them with pride and they are part of the community.
“A veteran’s home in the north would give people here a chance to show their pride and make veterans feel part of the community.”
John has gained the support of his MP John Leech, who has written to the Minister for Veterans, Anna Soubry, and pledged to help him if reelected.
The 91-year-old is also set to meet with the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities later this month, in a bid to gain the organisation’s support.
But John says he can’t bring his dream to fruition on his own and is calling on the public to back him.
He added: “We want people to back this and make it worthwhile
“I’m a Manc and I’m very proud of that fact.
“I’m also British proud of our history.
“There are lots of VCs in the north west and people don’t know who they are.
“The veterans of Manchester have never got the tributes they are entitled to.
John is a member of the Monte Cassino Veterans Association has previously called on the support of MEN readers, who successfully helped him fund a trip to take veterans on a last trip to Monte Cassino, the scene of one the most savage battles of the Second World War.