Normandy war hero Bob dies at age of 82

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Pacific Historian
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Jun 4, 2005
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Published Date: 31 January 2007 Location: Sheffield

SHEFFIELD Normandy war veteran Bob Dare has died aged 82.
Bob, of Ash Street, Mosborough, suffered a brain haemorrhage and died at the city's Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

A member of the Coldstream Guards Tank Brigade, Bob took part in the D-Day landings in France and in operations to liberate Holland from Nazi rule.

In October 1944, he suffered severe burns when his Churchill tank, Jackal, was blown up by a mine at Overloon, Holland during Operation Market Garden.
He was just 20 years old, and two of his crew of five were killed.

Bob returned to civilian life as a police officer but saw the shell of his tank again last October when he was guest of honour at the opening of the Oorlogs National War and Resistance Museum in Overloon.

The building, beside a war cemetery, has 300 wartime displays and a hangar containing aeroplanes and tanks from the 'forgotten battle' for the village of Overloon in September and October 1944.

The empty shell of Bob's tank is on display in the museum and he was believed to be the only surviving British serviceman with a personal connection to any of the displays.

He was filmed at the opening of the museum and presented the curator with a wooden plaque representing the badge of the Coldstream Guards' Sixth Guards Tank Brigade.

Bob was a member of the Sheffield branch of the Normandy Veterans' Association and, in August 2005, was reunited after 60 years with Coldstream Guards pal John Collier, from Hull, who trained with him at a camp in Eckington
in the months leading up to the Normandy landings.

John had been taking part in the same operation in Overloon and watched in horror as Bob's tank hit a landmine and exploded into flames.

In a letter sent to Bob in June 1945, John wrote: "I'll always remember that day when I saw your tank go up in flames. I never saw you get out and, at night when we got back, I couldn't find out what had happened to you.

"I went around what tanks were left yelling your name and I couldn't find you. The general opinion was that you were dead. You've no idea what a relief it was the next day when I found out you were still kicking."

Back in civilian life, Bob married his wartime sweetheart, Doreen, and the couple celebrated their Diamond wedding anniversary in March last year. Doreen, aged 83, said: "He was a marvellous husband and a great father and grandfather. We had been married for almost 61 very happy years."

Bob's son Neil plans to visit the Overloon museum later this year. He said: "You never really make the connection between the person you know and what they went through until you see how they suffered."

Bob leaves his wife Doreen, son Neil, daughter Janice and five grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on Tuesday February 6 at St Mark's Church, High Street, Mosborough and will be followed by burial at Eckington cemetery.

Donations in lieu of flowers to Neurocare at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

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