Search

Hornchurch grandfather, firefighter and soldier, 98, gets fitting send off

16:49 06 June 2014

Photo of Ronald Alfred Newbold taken on a visit to Normandy with his son David in 2009

Photo of Ronald Alfred Newbold taken on a visit to Normandy with his son David in 2009

Archant

The long life of Hornchurch war veteran and firefighter Ronald Alfred Newbold was one of duty and service.

The funeral procession of 98-year-old Ronald Alfred Newbold passes Hornchurch fire stationThe funeral procession of 98-year-old Ronald Alfred Newbold passes Hornchurch fire station

His funeral this week, which began with the procession of his coffin on the back of a fire engine, served as an eminently fitting tribute – although one that may have angered him.

“My dad was a northerner – he’d have been very, very cross at spending money!” said daughter Chris Hunt of her Leicester-born father.

Ronald – Ron to his friends – died aged 98 on May 21.

Whether it was joining the Army’s Coldstream Guards – which saw him taking part in the Normandy landings of D-Day –- or his full 25 years as a firefighter, his was a life characterised by service.

Picture of firefighter Ronald Alfred Newbold, taken at the opening of Wennington Fire Station on September 15 1962Picture of firefighter Ronald Alfred Newbold, taken at the opening of Wennington Fire Station on September 15 1962

Ron, who lived in Coniston Way, Hornchurch, from 1948 until his death, joined the Army in 1937. He intended to become a police officer but a former guardsman advised to sign up first for experience, his daughter recalls.

Though he kept many of the more harrowing details to himself, he had a tale or two to tell about his wartime experiences.

“In the liberation of Eindhoven [in the Netherlands],” says 59-year-old Chris, “they were welcomed by the people and they had false ceilings in their homes to hide from the Nazis. And they took the false ceilings down and handed out all of these spirits and champagne.”

After the war, Ron joined the fire brigade, working first at Hornchurch fire station and then at Wennington when it opened in 1962. Nine years later he retired, spending ten years at the water board before drawing his pension.

His career in the fire service became another episode marred by the sad loss of friends – stories of which he very much kept to himself.

But in retirement, he dedicated his life to remembering the fallen as chairman of the Romford branch of the Normany and Dunkirk Veterans’ Association, organising yearly journeys back to France. To have missed this week’s 70th anniversary commemorations by just a few days would no doubt have disappointed him.

A man active to the end, twice-widowered Ron only last year showed signs of deteriorating health. He was diagnosed with dementia and two weeks ago succumbed to a bout of pneumonia. He is survived by his three children and 11 grandchildren.

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 15:00
Sue Triggs, Russell Triggs and Amber Triggs, nine who has cerebal palsy and Kelly McCleoud, Rob McCleoud, Molly-May McCleoud, eight and Max McCleoud, five who are organising fundraisers in Barking and Dagenham to raise money for an operation for Amber

Friends and family of a nine-year-old with cerebral palsy are on a mission to raise £30,000 for an operation that could enable her to walk.

Yesterday, 12:00
Picture: ThinkstockPhotos-164922920.jpg / Carlos Gomez Bové

A “proactive” stance in encouraging male domestic abuse victims to come forward is not being taken by Havering Council, according to the chairman of a charity.

Yesterday, 10:00
Britannia Parking anti-social issues

Shocking images showing children hanging from the third storey of a town centre car park have provoked a safety investigation.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Bernard Thomas, holding the plant judged as the best succulent, with treasurer Janice Coombes, Adrian Finney and Bill Izatt

Interested in growing succulent plants? The Havering British Cactus and Succulent Society is on the lookout for new members.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Level 42 fan Julian Hall with some of his memorabilia collection

When Julian Hall spotted an advertisement for at-the-time unknown band Level 42 in the Ilford Recorder in 1981, he decided to go to the gig on a whim.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
A TfL Rail train. Picture: Hammersfan/Wikimedia Commons

TfL Rail trains from Shenfield to Ilford over the Bank Holiday weekend will be replaced by buses due to engineering works.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Drapers' Academy hosted a debate on the EU so its students can be informed ahead of the referendum

Harold Hill students got the chance to grill the borough’s politicians in a fiery and passionate debate today about the EU referendum.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Members of the Havering Quilters made dresses for girls in third world countries out of pillowcases. Photo: Susan Persaud

Members of a sewing club have turned pillowcases into pretty decorated dresses for young girls living in third world countries.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe