Ipswich: War hero dies after handing out poppies

IPSWICH: Roy Combes dedicated every day of his life to serving his country.

From serving in the Royal Navy, to raising thousands of pounds every year for the country’s troops – he lived every day in a “military manner”.

The 86-year-old died suddenly last Friday, shortly after spending the day handing out boxes of poppies in the town centre to raise money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

Today, his family and close friends paid tribute to a man “with a kind heart and friendly face”.

Kind-hearted father-of-three Mr Combes, of Bridge View, joined the Royal Navy in September 1939 and completed his training in 1943.

From here he embarked on numerous missions which saw him board a German U-boat and take their surrender, escort Winston Churchill to a meeting with the US president and serve during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

On completing his lengthy service in the 60s, Mr Combes worked as a maintenance engineer at Sunlight Laundry in Felixstowe and Burton Son and Saunders in Ipswich.

Most Read

His son, Martin, said: “I think my dad will always be remembered for his work with the Royal British Legion.

“After he retired on his 69th birthday, he became heavily involved in the Somersham Royal British Legion, where he was president.

“When that branch closed he joined the Ipswich Branch and was president for the last three years.

“He will be so greatly missed by everyone that knew him, he loved doing so much for others.

“He lived his life in a military manner but always enjoyed a laugh with family and friends.

“He has left a massive great big hole for everyone he met.”

Councillor Robin Vickery, of the Royal British Legion, said: “Members are completely shattered by the news.

“Roy will be so greatly missed.

“He was a much loved member and president.”

n What are your memories of Roy Combes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can e-mail eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk