Kenilworth war veteran remembered as a 'true gentleman' by widow

Bernard Stone (bottom) after receiving the Legion d'honneur with his second wife Barbara (left), then-mayor Cllr Richard Davies, and French Consul Robert Mille
Bernard Stone (bottom) after receiving the Legion d'honneur with his second wife Barbara (left), then-mayor Cllr Richard Davies, and French Consul Robert Mille

The widow of a 95-year-old Kenilworth war veteran paid tribute to him after he passed away earlier this month.

Bernard Stone, who fought during the D-Day landings during the Second World War, died peacefully on Monday March 5.

He left behind three sons, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Bernard’s second wife Barbara described him as a ‘true gentleman’ and said they had a very happy life together at their home in Faircroft.

She said: “He had a wicked sense of humour. Most of the cards we’ve had from people said he touched their lives in many different ways.”

Bernard was born in Reading on New Year’s Day in 1923.

He started work in a local Co-op, and signed up to fight in the Second World War in 1941, aged just 17.

Bernard became a wireless telegraphist in the Royal Navy, and said he was lucky to survive D-Day in 1944 when his boat was blown up.

In a previous interview, Bernard described what happened. He said: “There was a loud thump. I thought that we had hit another craft, so I poked my head out to see. Half the boat was gone.

“The boat was upright and the water was on fire. No one was left that I could see.

“I was very lucky I suppose, but you don’t think about it that much. If you do you’ll go mad.”

After the war, Bernard met his first wife Moreen and emigrated to Australia in the 1940s. They had three sons together: Michael, Christopher and Philip.

They returned to the UK a few years later, and Bernard got a job for the Owen Owen department store company. He stayed with them for more than 30 years.

When Philip was 10, Moreen suddenly died of a brain haemorrhage, which left Bernard very distressed.

But he ended up meeting his second wife Barbara at the Owen Owen store in Coventry in the 1970s, and the couple married in 1979.

Barbara added: “His three sons accepted me straight away. I had the family I never thought I would have.”

The couple were active members of the Kenilworth Twinning Association, and made many friends on their trips to Bourg-la-Reine in France and Eppstein in Germany.

In 2016, Bernard was rewarded by the French government with the Legion d’Honneur. It was made available to all British soldiers who fought for France’s liberation during the war.

Bernard’s funeral will be held at Cannon Hill Chapel, Canley Crematorium, Coventry on Wednesday April 4 at 1.30pm.