Harrogate's chance to give D-Day hero the send-off his bravery deserved

Harrogate is being invited to pay its respects to Second World War hero John Rushton when a funeral cortege takes the D-Day veteran to his final resting place.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 14th January 2022, 3:55 pm
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 3:57 pm
Harrogate hero - Such was the bravery of the 20-year-old John ‘Jack’ Rushton during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, he later received the Légion d’honneur medal.
Harrogate hero - Such was the bravery of the 20-year-old John ‘Jack’ Rushton during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, he later received the Légion d’honneur medal.

The funeral, on Monday, January 31, will see the decorated Royal Marine, who died aged 97 on New Year’s Day, taken by a Union Jack-covered hearse at 11.45am on a procession from his home in Beech Road through the streets of Harrogate.

The funeral service will take place at St Robert’s Church in Harrogate at noon with a military committal at Stonefall Crematorium at 1.40pm for those who wish to attend.

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This will be followed by a wake at Oakdale Golf Club.

Such was the bravery of the 20-year-old John ‘Jack’ Rushton during the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, he later received the Légion d’honneur medal from the French Government.

In one of the last interviews the late John Rushton did in 2020, when asked about his courage on Sword beach under Nazi fire on D-Day in 1944, the veteran Marine said: “The things we did might have been heroic, but it wasn’t because we had a choice. We had to get stuck in.

“There was a job to be done. I was just one of the fortunate ones to came back.”

Although military standards will feature at Stonefall, Mr Rushton’s family is still waiting to see whether it is possible to fufill the other key part of their father’s final wishes.

David Rushton, one of his four children, said: “We are trying to make arrangements to have a military element to his funeral but we are still waiting to hear.

“My dad always said he would like a bugler from the Royal Marines at his funeral but buglers are in high demand and we understand there are procedures.

“But it would be good to send him off in the manner his life deserved.”

After the war, Mr Rushton became chairman of Harrogate’s Royal Naval Association and one of the founders of the Tewit Youth Band, as well as being a member of St Robert’s Church.

Mr Rushton’s family say they are happy for any members of the public wishing to attend the day’s events - either at Beech Road, St Robert’s Church or Stonefall Crematorium - to do so.

But they are requesting that there should be no floral tributes except for the family ones.

Instead the family are asking for donations to its two chosen charities - the Royal British Legion and Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity.