Funeral for 'modest hero' D-Day veteran takes place in Hampshire

  • Full report from ITV News Meridian's Sally Simmonds

The funeral of D Day veteran Albert Lilly has taken place today in Hampshire. The 97 year old was born in Portsmouth and lived in the city for all of his life. 

Albert landed on Gold Beach at a quarter past eight on June the 6th 1944. He never spoke about his experiences.

Only in his final months did his family find out the scantest detail, but still nothing of the horrors he must have witnessed. 

  • Albert's daughters Sara and Susanne share memories of their father

Sara says: "The only quote I ever got from him, is he wanted to watch Saving Private Ryan, and I said to him at the very beginning, you know - it's quite graphic, and he said yes I was there!".

Susanne adds: "he was very modest and very quiet, he liked to sit and watch, he would join in with the conversation but it took some persuading".

Albert had to be persuaded to join the D day 75 celebrations but he did sail from Portsmouth on the MV Boudicca.

Sara says: "He was a very humble man and we managed to get ourselves onto Deck 7 with a balcony which he went, Sar, we can't really be here, he met Teresa May,, he met Charles he met Camilla.

Albert at the D-Day 75 celebrations

"When he came back from D Day 75 what did you see?"

"It was amazing, the first thing I said was you look 10 years younger and actually he was acting ten years younger".

Albert never spoke about the horrors he must have witnessed, he only mentioned the wine cellar he found in the small French village of Tilly.

The 16th airfield construction group were levelling off the bombed village to build an airfield.

  • Sara Lily retells Albert's wine cellar tale

Sara says:" They were filling in a crater, Dad was down in the crater and underneath was a wine cellar, they emptied the wine cellar very very quickly"

"The next day one of the locals come and the chap went off very downcast and my dad said to his mate what did you say? and he said the Germans must have taken it!".

Albert Lilly, hands on father, life long Pompey supporter and D day veteran whose died aged 97.