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Family pay tribute to Ipswich D-Day hero Cyril Nixon

PUBLISHED: 12:50 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:04 10 February 2017

Cyril Nixon surrounded by his family in October 2016 after receiving a medal for his part in the Normandy landings. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Cyril Nixon surrounded by his family in October 2016 after receiving a medal for his part in the Normandy landings. Picture: PAUL NIXON

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Tributes have been paid to Suffolk D-Day veteran and 'true gentleman' Cyril Nixon who has died at the age of 92.

Mr Nixon was just 18 when he took part in the D-Day landings. Picture: PAUL NIXONMr Nixon was just 18 when he took part in the D-Day landings. Picture: PAUL NIXON

Born and bred in Ipswich, Mr Nixon played a key role in the Normandy Landings on June 6, 1944, riding in a support lorry full of fuel to back up Allied tanks as they charged into France.

The lorries were key targets for the Germans as without fuel the tanks would become stranded but modest Mr Nixon always said he was just adding his ‘little contribution’ to the war effort.

In October last year, Mr Nixon, who served with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards, finally received recognition for his bravery when he was awarded a French Legion of Honour medal for his role in the war.

His step-son Steven Garnham said “Everybody who met him remarked he was a true gentleman.
“He was always polite and always considerate.

Cyril Nixon was treated to a special lunch with Mayor of Ipswich  Roger Fern in October last year after he received an award for his part in the D Day landings. Picture: PAUL NIXONCyril Nixon was treated to a special lunch with Mayor of Ipswich Roger Fern in October last year after he received an award for his part in the D Day landings. Picture: PAUL NIXON

“That pretty much summed him up.

“When I look back now I realise he was always there to help and support but never interfered.

“He wouldn’t tell you what to do, he left you to sort it out on your own.

“It was nice he got the medal before he died, he just loved the occasion with all the family there.

“He never glorified the war, we all know how awful it was.

“But he was happy to recount the smaller things that happened, the human moments.”

Mr Nixon went to Northgate School as a youngster and had become an apprentice tailor when the war broke out.

When he returned he was offered a job from the same firm but at a shop in Peterborough, however Mr Nixon insisted he wanted to stay in his home town.

He trained as an accountant and started working at the Churchman’s cigar factory in Ipswich, which was later taken over by John Players.

It was there he met his wife, Jean, who he married in 1978.

Often a trailblazer, Mr Nixon was known for travelling to far off places and for his interest in the newest technologies, gizmos and gadgets.

Mr Nixon died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, February 2.

He is survived by his son Clive and his step-sons Steven and Richard.

Mr Nixon’s funeral is taking place at the Ipswich Crematorium on Wednesday February 15 at 10.45am.

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