D-Day Veteran to take part in Exeter’s Armed Forces Day
Published: 21 June 2019
One of the last surviving D-Day veterans will take part in Armed Forces Day in Exeter tomorrow (Saturday 22 June).
Ninety-six-year-old Bob Reeves will be a VIP guest at the event in the city centre. He will watch from outside Exeter’s historic Guildhall as veterans and cadets march down Exeter High Street.
Born and brought up in Exeter, Bob has lived all his life in the city apart from 18 months when he lived in a village just outside.
He spent a lot of his childhood down at the Quay where he learnt to swim in the river, before leaving school at the age of 14 and getting a job in a local garage. He decided that the job wasn't for him so he went off and joined the navy, knowing he could learn a trade for life.
He started working on ships for the coastal forces that protected the channel until war broke out. He then became an engineer in the engine room of one of the many hundreds of navy boats that took part in the Second World War.
His boat was one of many that landed on Sword Beach on 6 June 1944.
After the war he returned home to his wife and baby son.
Bob has always had a passion for pigeons and one of his friends was the owner of Mary of Exeter, who became famous for her duties during the war after being shot and injured four times, Mary of Exeter received the Dickin medal which is the highest honour for an animal.
Bob was instrumental in getting a commemorative plaque placed in Northernhay Gardens in memory of Mary.
He had seven children,25 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren and numerous great-great-grandchildren.
He celebrated his golden wedding anniversary just 8 months prior to his wife passing away.
Following the war and throughout his life he has worked in many different jobs but he has also carried out a lot of fundraising for different charities.
He raised over £2,000 for Hospiscare and he has also raised money for the PDSA, breast cancer charities and the Gurkhas.
It is only within the last 12 to 24 months that he has taking a step back from all of his activities and sold his beloved pigeons due to ill health.