D-Day hero, 89, did not expect to survive war

Roy Naftel, who took part in the D-Day landings, has died aged 89. He is from St Annes.
Roy Naftel, who took part in the D-Day landings, has died aged 89. He is from St Annes.

A war hero who took part in the D-Day landings before setting up business on the Fylde coast has been praised by his son in an emotional tribute.

Roy Naftel, of Cartmell Road, St Annes, died on Monday aged 89 after a battle with lymph cancer.

As a 19-year-old in the King’s Own Shropshire Light Infantry, he was one of the first soldiers to take part in the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, when Allied Forces invaded German-occupied France during the Second World War.

Today his son Chris paid tribute to his father, calling him “very much a family man.”

He added: “He took part in the Sword Beach operation, the code name given to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast during the initial assault phase.

“He spoke about that day about a fortnight ago, when he admitted to me he was ready for going. He told me soldiers were expected not to come back. He said he had had another 70 years of his life. 
He did not expect to survive D-Day.

“But he lived right through to VE Day, even invading Germany.

“He said he lived every day like a bonus after.”

Born in Guernsey in 1925, he moved to mainland UK as a 16-year-old, just a day before Nazi forces arrived to take over the small island in the English Channel.

In 1943 he joined the Shropshire Light Infantry as an 18-year-old before taking part in the D-Day landings a year later.

After the war he married Jean in the late 1940s, before starting a career in printing.

Chris added: “He moved to Dudley Hill Engineering in Southport soon after, before relocating to St Annes in 1959 when the business moved - it is now known as Dudley Industries in Lytham.

“He went on to set up a launderette, called Sarnia, before establishing St Annes Timber in St Davids Road South, with both businesses continuing to this day.”

Mr Naftel is survived by wife Jean, 88, children Sue, 64, Chris, 61, John, 57 and Cheryl, 53, as well as nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Friday, October 24, from 11am at the Fairhaven United Reformed Church in Clifton Drive.