Royal Marines to pay tribute to Harrogate D-Day hero on his final journey

The family of Harrogate's D-Day hero have pulled out all the stops to make sure his last wishes are respected at his funeral next week.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 1:59 pm

The final journey of Harrogate D-Day hero John ‘Jack’ Rushton will be marked by a bugler from the Royal Marines.

The decorated former Marine sergeant, who died aged 97 on New Year’s Day, had always said he wanted a military element to his funeral when the time came.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

Harrogate's John Rushton, who died earlier this month, was awarded the Légion d’honneur medal from the French Government for his actions on Sword Beach on D-Day in June 1944.

His family were determined to give their father the send-off his service to the country in the Second World War merited and have arranged proceedings in keeping with a man who remained modest despite being honoured for his bravery under enemy fire on the beaches of Normandy in June 1944.

David Rushton, one of his four children, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who has helped make it possible to give our dad the send-off he deserved. My dad always said he would like a bugler from the Royal Marines at his funeral.

“We’re expecting it to be busy in the church and at the crematorium, which isn’t

very big.

Early days - The young John Rushton, pictured centre in a military parade in the run-up to Second World War.

“My dad never thought of himself as a hero; he thought he was just doing his duty.

“But he has left such a great legacy, we wanted to send him off in the appropriate manner.”

Next Monday’s proceedings will begin with a funeral cortege from Mr Rushton’s former home on Beech Road in Harrogate at 11.45am.

From there his Union Jack-covered coffin with Royal Navy beret and medals will be taken through the streets of Harrogate to St Robert’s Church for the funeral service at noon.

The cortege will then arrive at Stonefall Crematorium on Wetherby Road at 1.40pm where it will be met by a military guard with military standards, including ex-service personnel and members of the Royal British Legion.

The end of the short committal will see a Royal Marines bugler play The Last Post, in line with Mr Rushton’s final wishes.

Six years ago, John Rushton was awarded the Légion d’honneur medal from the French Government for his actions on Sword Beach on D-Day in June 1944.

The furthest east of the five beaches targeted for the start of the Allies’ liberation of Europe from the Nazis, Mr Rushton’s mission was to get ammunition supplies safely through a deadly barrage of German fire.

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 it is asking for donations to its two chosen charities - the Royal British Legion and Harrogate Hospital and Community Charity.

David Rushton said: “Because of his health, my dad went into a care home.

“He never made it back to his house at Beech Road but the cortege will be a chance for his old neighbours to see him one last time.

"The family is encouraging people to come and stand if they like to pay their respects on his last journey.”