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Son pays tribute to Ipswich war veteran and ‘perfect father’ who died of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 17:26 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 17 April 2020

Charles 'Sonny' Wright with his medal, which he was awarded by the Norwegian government.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Charles 'Sonny' Wright with his medal, which he was awarded by the Norwegian government. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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An Ipswich war veteran who went behind enemy lines to protect Britain has been described by his son as the “ultimate modern father” after he died from coronavirus at the age of 99.

Charles 'Sonny' Wright, who served in the 161 Field Ambulance.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCharles 'Sonny' Wright, who served in the 161 Field Ambulance. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Charles Wright, known as ‘Sonny’ to his close friends and family, sadly died at the Willows Care Home in Ipswich this morning after a short battle with Covid-19.

Following his death, Sonny’s family want to celebrate the life of the war veteran, who lived in Rushmere St Andrew with his wife Ruby for many years after serving his country.

His son Clive said Sonny would “do anything for anyone” and described him as being the “ultimate modern father”.

He said his dad was “still hanging doors in his 90s” and was physically very strong – spending his days in the garden and doing handyman work.

Charles 'Sonny' Wright with all his family in 2017. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCharles 'Sonny' Wright with all his family in 2017. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“He was so laidback, a true gentleman, really supportive and a huge family man,” explained Clive.

Three years ago, Sonny was rewarded for his “outstanding bravery” when he was presented with a prestigious war medal and a diploma from the Government of Norway at a special ceremony.

Sonny, who was born in Ipswich in 1921, began his military career early, joining the 161 field ambulance unit when he was 15, saying that he was 17.

He served in the Second World War, being picked to join a secret unit formed by Winston Churchill to go behind enemy lines in Russia.

World War Two veteran Charles 'Sonny' Wright has sadly passed away at the age of 99. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWorld War Two veteran Charles 'Sonny' Wright has sadly passed away at the age of 99. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Tasked with special operations in helping the Norwegians, he and his fellow soldiers battled through the snow and climbed mountains before being shipped back to Britain.

From there he travelled to mainland Europe, fighting the Germans and Italians during the Siege of Malta from 1940 onwards.

In 1943 he was captured as a Prisoner Of War on the Greek island of Leros for 18 months. When he was released he returned home to Ipswich to visit his uncle in Waveney Road where Ruby lived with her family.

Sonny married Ruby in 1946 and the pair spent more than 70 years together, having three children, John, Marion and Clive, along with 12 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

Charles and Ruby Wright were married for more than 70 years. Picture: LUCY TAYLORCharles and Ruby Wright were married for more than 70 years. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

More: Charles and Ruby Wright from Ipswich mark their Platinum Wedding Anniversary

They moved to Rushmere St Andrew in the late 70s where they spent many years together – with Sonny a partner of his own building company Wright & Fuller before his retirement at the age of 65.

The pair enjoyed spending their time in the garden together before Ruby sadly passed away after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s four years ago.

Due to his old-age, Sonny was admitted to The Willows Care Home last summer, where he spent the last few months of his life.

Speaking of his father’s death, Clive said: “There is no sorrow, he had a long healthy life and to live such a full-one is amazing.

Veteran Charles 'Sonny' Wright died on Friday, April 17 at The Willows Care Home. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNVeteran Charles 'Sonny' Wright died on Friday, April 17 at The Willows Care Home. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“He lost lots of friends in the war, so for him to be that lucky and to survive is incredible.

“It has been hard not being able to go and see my dad at the care home due to the restrictions, but I know he was not alone as the carers and staff there are incredible. I just hope he didn’t think we had abandoned him.

“He really was an incredible dad and we will all truly miss him.”


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