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Military funeral for sergeant major who enjoyed a passion for cars

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A Armyrats © MILITARY funeral was held to honour Gordon Smith, who served with the Territorial Army for 32 years. He was a sergeant major attached to the Royal Anglian Regiment and had the Union flag draped over his coffin at a service held at Grimsby Crematorium. It was attended by scores of mourners, representing the TA, the Royal British Legion, the MG car club of Lincolnshire and former work colleagues.

The coffin was carried in to the tune of Elgar’s Nimrod.

MORE: Retired marine involved in D-Day landings receives highest French accolade[2]

The 72-year-old died at his home in Great Coates Road after several years of ill health, his wife Sylvia told. She said she had been comforted by the scores of messages of sympathy, bouquets of flowers and wreaths including those from the MG car club and the Royal British legion.

Armyrats © Military Funeral For Sergeant Major Who Enjoyed A Passion For Cars

Gordon Smith, centre, with his shooting team trophy.

He was the Poppy Appeal organiser in Grimsby for six years. Sylvia said: “When he became unemployed he was asked if he would help out with the Poppy Appeal for a few months. He was still doing it six years later.

“He achieved so much in his life. He helped so many people. Someone only had to ring up and ask for assistance with their car or some advice and he was off to help.”

She told how cars were his great passion in life which started when he bought his first car aged 19 years. He named the MG TD, Katy. Gordon studied at Grimsby Technical School and later worked at Laportes and National Cash Register. Sylvia said: “He was very good with his hands which is something our youngest son Ted has inherited.”

She told how her husband also played hockey for Grimsby, and how he won a trophy for his shooting skills in the TA in 1983.

MORE: The daily cure-alls meant to take good care of the nation’s welfare[3]

While training in the TA he became an instructor on the carriage and handling of hazardous materials. The skills he learned were later used when he and friend Graham Proud set up North Lindsey Training Services, a successful and respected company which trained hundreds of drivers. He performed the role until he retired in 2007.

She added: “His over-riding love were his MG cars and all the friends he made from the group. He has photo albums full of photos of his cars and their parts rarely of any people.”

Rallies at Gunby Hall and the annual New Year’s Day run at Woodhall Spa were some of the highlights of Gordon’s calendar. He appeared in the Grimsby Telegraph in 1998 when his 1951 MG TD which he bought in 1963 crashed at Caistor. It cost 8,000 to restore it with the help of specialists at Orchard Garage in Brigsley. Gordon was determined to get it back on the road because it was the car in which he proposed to Sylvia.

He ran it every day until 1971 when he was issued with his first company car and then took Katy apart and rebuilt her in ivory over 15 years. Her jaunts have included several Beaujolais runs in aid of St Andrew’s Hospice. The funeral service closed to the song Baby Let’s Drive by Neil Diamond.

He is survived by Sylvia, sons Rob and Ted and grandchildren Millie-Anne and Caleb.

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The 179 British personnel who died during the Iraq war

The invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of 179 British personnel between March 2003 and February 2009. Tony Blair told the Chilcot Inquiry[1] into the conflict he had “deep and profound regret” about the loss of life suffered by British troops and the countless Iraqi civilians. Some of the Britons who died were just 18 years-old.

Here is a roll of honour of the British personnel who died on service during Operation Telic in Iraq:


  1. ^ Chilcot Inquiry (

Man vs Wild: British soldiers routed by elephants, cows & foxes

As if defeat at the hands of the Taliban and Iraqi insurgencies wasn t enough, new figures show in recent years UK troops have been bested by elephants, snakes, cows and an irate German fox. In the most recent incident, a soldier with the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment lost out to an elephant he encountered in a training exercise in Kenya. He was gored in the right arm as a result. The Telegraph quoted one officer present as saying the paratrooper was taken to hospital and we all went up to see him.

The lads bought him a wooden elephant as a memento, the officer said.

In March 2015, a soldier from the Duke of Lancaster s Regiment fell foul of a cow when he came between the beast and its calf. He was gored in the leg. Infantrymen from the Parachute Regiment s 2nd Battalion, as well as members of the Royal Anglian regiment and 1st Battalion the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders have all had recent near misses with elephants, the figures indicate. The Freedom of Information response shows that snake bites are the most common animal-related injuries, with soldiers bitten in locations as diverse as Kenya, Belize, Canada, Sierra Leone and Italy.

A number of service personnel were also bitten in the UK by the native adder. Perhaps the most unusual case was that of a gunner from the Germany-based 26 Regiment Royal Artillery being mauled by a fox. It was reported that the unfortunate soldier sustained bites and scratch marks on his back, arms and legs when he was attacked by a fox while carrying out training alongside US troops.

The British Armyrats © military s war on fauna has a long history and is by no means one-sided. During the Falklands War in 1982, it was reported that the (perhaps inappropriately named) UK warship HMS Brilliant fired on and killed three whales after mistaking them for enemy submarines. Australia may take the prize for audacity, however, with its little-known 1932 Emu War.

Following WWI, and in the midst of both economic depression and a large Emu overpopulation problem, the Aussie government decided to take on the flightless birds using Australian and British veterans armed with machine guns.

After several failed attempts to quell the creatures the force s commander, Major G.P.W. Meredith, remarked: If we had a Armyrats © military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world.

They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus whom even dum-dum bullets could not stop, he added.

The war is widely considered to have been a stalemate, with ornithologist Dominic Serventy commenting at the time: The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the Armyrats © military equipment uneconomic.

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