SYDNEY Booth fought in the long hard battle to liberate Europe from the Germans.
And in later life he met his childhood sweetheart again and they married.
Sydney, 91, of Lindley, was born in Mossley near Manchester as a war baby in 1919 after his father had served in World War One.
The worsening economic conditions brought Syd’s family to the Colne Valley where Syd first met Enid Schofield (nee Meal) and fell in love.
But she decided she was too young to marry and broke off the relationship, leaving Sydney heartbroken.
After Syd’s romance with Enid finished in 1939, Syd was set to join the French Foreign Legion. But the Second World War started so he joined the British Army instead.
After first joining a ‘Geordie’ battalion and earning a good reputation as a boxer, Sydney then joined a tank training school and from there went to the 9th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment. He underwent two years of training and exercises for the invasion of Europe.
The battalion landed on the beaches in tempestuous weather 14 days after D Day with the words from the tank commander to Sydney: “Right driver Booth. The left is the Atlantic and the right is France.’’
The battalion took part in many brief and bloody encounters, including the Falaise Gap, but Syd said he saw France through a 2ins by 5ins slit.
At rest in December 1944, the Battalion was called up to support American forces in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium which was to be the Germans’ last offensive of the war.
The main thing that Syd could remember about this period were the V1 ‘flying bombs’ roaring overhead and a little old Belgian peasant woman who made him the best plate of chips he had ever eaten.
In February the battalion took part in the battle to cross the Rhine in appalling conditions of snow, mud, rain and freezing temperatures.
At the end of the war Syd’s battalion was in Germany where Syd and his cherished picture of Enid were separated from his Churchill tank and demobbed.
When he came home he met a neighbour’s daughter, Edith, and they married.
They had a happy marriage but sadly Edith died in her mid 50s.
But a chance encounter with Enid in Slaithwaite led to a second marriage for both which sadly ended with Enid’s death in 2002.
The last years of Syd’s life were dogged by increasing ill-health which he fought as bravely as he did when he did ‘his bit’ .
He leaves three daughters, three granddaughters and four great grandchildren.