WW2 veteran and charity volunteer passes away
12:33 05 March 2014
A D-Day veteran who spent the later years of his life raising many-thousands of pounds for charity has passed away.
Harry Silvester, of Randall Drive, Hornchurch, died earlier this year at the age of 89, leaving behind his wife Connie Silvester, 85, and his four daughters, Linda Cork, 66, Hazel Silvester, 65, Christine Wright, 60, and Julie Silvester, 54.
Linda said: “He was an amazing and lovely man that everyone simply adored.”
One of eight children, Harry was born in Plaistow, Newham, in 1924, where he grew up in a poor household, earning pennies helping his parents when he could.
Harry became an apprentice bricklayer on leaving school but, aged 19, he joined up to the navy during the Second World War, serving initially on HMS Colossus but primarily on HMS Northway.
He was a leading seamen who attended to and rescued injured servicemen on D-Day, on June 6 1944.
It was while on leave from the navy that he met the love of his life, Connie Geary when she was just 16 at a roller-skating rink in Forest Gate, Newham.
Linda said: “My dad craftily introduced himself by asking mum to straighten out the collar on his sailor’s uniform. They made such a beautiful couple.”
The pair then tied the knot in 1947 when they married at a church in Stratford.
Harry spent the majority of his life from then raising money for different charities, including St John Ambulance and the RSPCA. Both he and Connie received the Mayor’s Award in 1999 for raising around £48,000 for the animal charity.
He also became a first aid responder for Harrods in London in the late 1970s.
Former Harrods security manager, Gary Parkins, said: “Harry was hard-working, dedicated, and very professional. He was totally reliable and one of our prime first aiders at Harrods.”
He added: “He was a smashing fellow with a good heart.”
There were discussions of him being recommended for an MBE before he passed away.
Linda said: “He was so nice to everyone and will be very much missed.”