A much-loved Second World War veteran has died at the age of 100.
Sergeant Edward ‘Ted’ Adcook, of Millbook, Apsley, was working at the Dickinson Paper Mill when he became the first Hemel man to sign up for service, nearly 80 years ago.
Ted initially joined the Herts & Beds Regiment in September 1939 for what should have been six months’ service.
Instead he went on to fight from the Persian Gulf and Basra to the North African campaign, and helped to liberate Italy when he took part in the invasion at Salerno in September 1942.
But whilst this was a crucial battle, it proved fateful for the newly-promoted sergeant.
Prior to the landing Ted was suffering from diphtheria but despite being give the opportunity to stand down he insisted on landing with his platoon on Salerno Beach.
During fierce fighting he witnessed his commanding officer next to him being shot and many of his regiment mowed down, the 2/5th Queens losing five company commanders and 170 men within 30 hours of landing.
Ted himself was captured, and spent several years in prisoner of war camps. The next his parents heard was a postcard to them from the camp, and he remained a prisoner until the summer of 1945.
Finally he returned home at the end of hostilities in Europe.
And at age 99 he honoured and remembered his former comrades by taking a seat in the IMAX Hemel Hempstead to see the Second World War film Dunkirk.
His friend Peter Dear has cared for veterans from Queens Regiment for more than 30 years. Ted was his last.
Mr Dear said: “Ted passed away on the April 27 saying he was ready to join his beloved wife Betty who passed on nine years earlier.
“He was a regular at The White Hart in Apsley where he sang in memory of Betty, You Are My Reason For Living.
“Ted was an accomplished model maker and enjoyed painting into his 100th year.
“Ted’s military background allowed him to participate in the VE Day celebration in 2015 attending Westminster Abbey. There he was introduced to Camilla HRH the Duchess of Cornwall who sent Ted birthday cards and several gifts.”
Ted’s funeral will be held at St Mary’s Church, Apsley, on Friday (May 31) at 11am.
This will be followed by burial at Woodwells Cemetery and then a wake at Apsley Community Centre.