Veteran who fought in the Dunkirk rear guard celebrates his 104th birthday

The oldest veteran of the Royal Scots regiment, who fought to protect the rear during the Dunkirk evacuation, is celebrating his 104th birthday.

Major John Errington, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, fought at the Battle of Le Paradis in Northern France in May 1940.

The Royal Scots 1st Battalion, reduced to just 400 men in over two weeks of operation, prepared for their final stand at Le Paradis, 30 miles from Dunkirk in northeastern France, on May 25, there.

Historians say their defensive actions helped delay the German advance, allowing thousands of British troops to reach Dunkirk’s beaches.

John Errington (left) in 1941 during his time as a prisoner of war (The Royal Scots/PA)

Major Errington was eventually captured and spent five years as a prisoner of war.

He is celebrating his birthday with his family on Friday.

Brigadier General George Lowder, chairman of the Royal Scots Regiment Commission, said: “John Errington was a very loyal member of our regiment and demonstrated exemplary service, especially during the World War. second world.

“On behalf of the regiment, we extend our warmest congratulations on his special 104th birthday.”

The regiment says that the order of the Royal Scots 1st Battalion, “Stand and Fight with the Last Man”, played a key role in allowing the withdrawal of 337,000 Allied Forces from the beaches of Dunkirk.

John Errington with his wife Brenda on their wedding day (Errington Family/PA)

However, this three-day defense against overwhelming odds resulted in the Battalion being annihilated.

Brigadier General Lowder said: “Their morale was not shaken, although they acted continuously for 17 days to delay the German advance by more than 200 miles and suffered heavy casualties. Their contribution to Dunkirk is very important.

“Let us never forget that the vast majority of those who survived the last stand at Le Paradis spent the next five years as prisoners of war.”

Major Errington served with the Battalion’s French liaison officer, Captain Michel Martell, a family member of the Martell Cognac Company.

He recently received a special bottle of cognac from Captain Martell’s grandson, Thierry Firino-Martell, who sent the gift to commemorate the veteran’s enduring camaraderie and bravery.

In 2006, the Royal Scottish Regiment was formed from its predecessor the Scottish Infantry Regiment, and after 373 years of nonstop service, the Royal Scottish Regiment left the British army.

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Mike Fahey

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