Dorset veterans gather to suprise war hero on his 92nd birthday
On Monday 11 January 2016, local Weymouth veterans and armed forces personnel will gather in secret to surprise war veteran Cyril Gill, to celebrate his 92nd birthday and to thank him for his invaluable service during the Second World War.
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Over the past year, Cyril has been a regular attendee of the Dorset Breakfast Club - an organisation of war veterans and serving members of the armed forces that meets at a local cafe in Weymouth each week, and is supported by SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.
Members of the Dorset Breakfast Club have been so moved by Cyril’s military heritage and war stories that they decided to organise a surprise event for his Birthday.
As a special honour, representatives from the Welsh Guards are attending to present Cyril with an honorary tankard.
As young man of 18, living the small village of Glan Conwy in Wales, Cyril decided to join the Welsh Guards as a volunteer in 1942. Shortly after his enlistment, he was called to Caterham Barracks to undergo army training, followed by tank-driver training at Pirbright Barracks, before being posted to the 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards at Pickering in Yorkshire.
In 1943, he was sent to Weymouth in Dorset to prepare tanks for the D-Day landings, where he met his wife-to-be, Ruby. He married Ruby on 7 October in 1943, but two days later, he was sent to France with his Battalion to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, not to return home to Weymouth until February 1947.
SSAFA’s Weymouth & Portland Divisional Secretary, Derek Hope says: “The Weymouth & Portland SSAFA team was, together with the Rotary Club of Weymouth, delighted to support The Dorset Breakfast Club with funds helping the club to put on the surprise birthday celebration for Cyril. We all wanted to remind him that his war service is still recognised and will always be greatly valued. We are also thrilled that the Welsh Guards have agreed to join us on Monday evening, as this will ensure that the evening is truly memorable for Cyril.”