A painter and decorator who served in Iraq with the Territorial Army will be joining collectors in the town for this year’s Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal.
John Tracey, 62, from Lowerhouses, was in the TA for 26 years with the Army Medical Corps and is now a member of the Huddersfield-based Veterans’ Association which supports the RBL at this time of year.
In 2003-4 he served in Iraq where his role included providing “top cover” for ambulances armed with a machine gun positioned on top of Land Rovers. He also was part of the guard at Basra Palace.
He said: “We had to protect the ambulances in Iraq otherwise they became legitimate targets and could be attacked.
“One of our ambulances was attacked and riddled with holes but, luckily, I was never injured.
“The veterans are all ex-service people and this is the time we remember comrades who have been injured serving their country including those young lads in Afghanistan. Some aren’t as lucky as others and they need our support.”
Mr Tracey will be at Sainsbury’s and at the Kingsgate Centre selling poppies. Current members of the Territorial Army, based at the Drill Hall in Huddersfield, will also be collecting and the Army cadets will be taking part in the annual Poppy Day parade on November 9.
Detachment commander Colour Sgt Andy Northrop said: “Taking part in the parade is a real highlight and makes us all feel very proud to representing the regiment now and in the past.”
Anyone who would like to help the Huddersfield Poppy Appeal this year, or have done previously and have not been contacted, should ring 07985 244440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org