OUR NATION REMEMBERS: D-Day veteran to have his remains buried in Normandy


Alan Pritchard, of Portmead, holding a photograph of himself and his older brother, World War Two veteran Kenneth Pritchard, who has died at 91.

World War II soldier Kenneth Pritchard never returned to his hometown of Swansea to live after World War II and settled instead in France. He lived in Paris, where he got married and had two sons and four grandchildren. And towards the end of his life he expressed a desire to be buried where he had landed all those years ago at Asnelles.

His funeral wishes were complied with and he was given a send-off by a marching band. He landed on Gold Beach on June 6, 1944 and was part of the Battle of Normandy in Caen and Rouen. He then participated in operations in Belgium before going on to Berlin.

"In his last moments, Kenneth Pritchard said he wanted to be buried in Asnelles," said the town's deputy mayor Gerard Pouchain. Mr Pritchard was born in Edward Street, which used to be near St David's Church in the city center.

After leaving school he was an art student before joining the war effort. His brother Alan,of St Cenydd Road, Portmead, said: "He stayed in France after the war and met his girlfriend Martine and married her. They had two sons, Gerard and Erik. He only came back to Swansea on holiday and for family bereavements. He expressed a wish to be buried at Asnelles and was buried with some pomp and ceremony. There was a marching band there."

He was buried alongside another British war veteran, Charles Hargrove, and former minister Maurice Schumann, who worked for the French Resistance. They both too had requested burial in the town's church.

Another brother Colin, who now lives in Burlescombe, near Tiverton in Devon, said the funeral was very poignant.

"He married Martine in 1948 and Gerard is a well-known artist in Paris and Erik is a well-known sculptor in Perpignan," he said. "After the war my brother worked for the British Embassy as a chauffeur and interpreter for all the big wigs in the army in Paris. He did that for 10 years and then worked as a chauffeur and interpreter for the president of the Bank of Paris until he retired.

"Every year on the D-Day landings anniversary he travelled down to Arromanches for the open air service there. He was given a couple of medals by the French for his war efforts.

"At his funeral there were a lot of flags there, including the Welsh and French ones. There were speeches from a lot of dignitaries and the service lasted for two hours. Then at the graveside there was another service which lasted for half an hour. There he was given the Freedom of Asnelles. A medal was given to Martine. There was a marching band from the church to the graveside. It was a very poignant occasion."

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