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100 year old WWII veteran to mark D-Day in Worthing instead of Normandy

Major Edwin ‘Ted’ Hunt MVO usually marks D-Day on 6 June in Normandy with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans. This year, plans were in place for Ted to join the charity’s annual trip to France, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the plans had to be cancelled

Having already missed celebrations for his 100th birthday on 23 March and the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May, because of the pandemic restrictions, Ted is determined not to miss out again and plans are in place for him to mark D-Day on 6 June.

For Ted to safely break his lockdown, arrangements are being made to take him in a disinfected London Licensed Taxi from his home in Sompting, West Sussex, on the short journey to Worthing War Memorial on Saturday 6 June so that he can mark the occasion by laying a wreath and remembering those who did not return.

Major Ted Hunt said:

"I missed celebrating my 100th birthday on 23 March and the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May but D-Day is something that I must mark if I possibly can. I am so disappointed that the usual group of WWII veterans have been unable to travel with the Taxi Charity to Normandy this year and I am determined to place a wreath and pay my respects to those who didn’t make it home."

Ted is being driven from his home in West Sussex by London taxi driver and charity volunteer Mike Hughes who lives in Worthing and is Ted’s regular driver and companion on the outings organised by the Taxi Charity.

Mike said:

"After taking Ted to various events, I’ve grown very close to him and I know how disappointed he was to miss the celebrations for both his 100th birthday and VE Day. We spoke recently, and with the easing of the lockdown rules, decided that we could try to mark D-Day at the Worthing War Memorial instead of in Normandy as we have done in recent years. My black cab, with its separated passenger compartment, is probably the safest way to take Ted on this short journey, and we will ensure we adhere to the social distancing requirements at all times."

About Major Ted Hunt

Born 23 March 1920. Apprenticed to his father as a Waterman in 1935 on the River Thames, he learned to tow Thames barges with a rowing-boat. Following the outbreak of WWII, Ted volunteered with the Royal Engineers and served in the Battles of Narvik in Norway (April–May 1940).

By 1944, Ted was commissioned, and as a Captain, commanded 15 of the Rhino low draft ferries on Gold Beach on D-Day. In four months, these landing craft put ashore 93,000 units (tanks, guns and vehicles) and 440,000 tons of military stores.

During the last six months of the war in Europe, together with the Dutch hydraulics engineer Lt. C. L. M. Lambrechtsen van Ritthem, he advised the Chief Engineer Second Army, Brigadier "Ginger" Campbell, on the "opposed crossing of water obstacles", so that the longest floating Bailey bridge of the Second World War could be constructed at Gennep in the Netherlands.

This bridge over the river Maas (Meuse) was 4,008 feet (1,222 m) long and was opened on 19 February 1945.

Demobilised as a Major he returned to civilian life as a college lecturer in navigation and watermanship at the City and East London College in London, from 1948 until 1985.

As a Royal Waterman, he was appointed Queen’s Bargemaster in 1978 and retired from royal service as a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in 1990.

Ted's sister Emily died on 16 May 2020, aged 104. The family has not been able to book a date for her cremation due to the numbers that have died in or near Herne Bay.

About Mike Hughes

In addition to volunteering with the Taxi Charity, Mike is also the Independent Taxi Coordinator for the free Poppy Cab taxi service for veterans going to and from the annual service of remembrance each November in London.


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