Guard of honour for Hartlepool D-Day veteran who went on to serve as firefighter

Firefighters form a guard of honour as the coffin enters the building.
Firefighters form a guard of honour as the coffin enters the building.

Dozens of mourners turned out to say a final farewell to a Hartlepool war hero.

The coffin of Frank Huntley was draped in a Union Jack for the service at Stranton Crematorium.

Funeral of former Cleveland Fire Brigade chief Frank Huntley

Funeral of former Cleveland Fire Brigade chief Frank Huntley

As well as serving in the Royal Navy, taking part in the D-Day landings, Frank served for many years as a firefighter in the town.

To honour the 93-year-old, firefighters provided a guard of honour as his coffin, which was also decorated with medals and his fire service cap, was carried into the crematorium.

Family and friends gathered for the service, where his life was celebrated.

Pastor David Russon, led the service and talked about Frank’s dedication to his family and work.

To be draped in the flag today is a wonderful thing

Pastor David Russon

He said: “He was part of the Royal Navy and part of the fire brigade. He was a man dedicated to service. To be draped in the flag today is a wonderful thing.

“He was a hard working man who wanted to make sure his family were looked after and cared for.”

Frank and his wife Muriel, 94, would have celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June and Pastor Russon said they were an inspiration to others.

Frank began his working career at ICI in Billingham before he was drafted into the Royal Navy in 1942, which led to him being a member of the crew on a torpedo boat involved in the D-Day landings.

Frank Huntley.

Frank Huntley.

After being demobbed, he returned to his job with the chemical firm, but found the work had changed during his absence and decided at the age of 22 to move on.

However, during his second time at the firm was where he met Muriel and the pair tied the knot in 1948.

He joined West Hartlepool Fire Brigade the same year and in 1952 was put in charge of recruiting and training up unpaid volunteer firefighters, who were primed to help the service should the Cold War result in an attack.

During his time there he was promoted to one of its top jobs as a divisional officer and even received an award for helping to rescue a bull.

Funeral of former Cleveland Fire Brigade chief Frank Huntley

Funeral of former Cleveland Fire Brigade chief Frank Huntley

He retired from the fire brigade in 1976, but went on to work at the nuclear power station for several years.

Frank, who was a keen gardener and loved the outdoors, died peacefully in hospital.

As well as Muriel, he leaves behind his daughter Lynn, 68, and son David, 64, and three grandchildren.

Donations made at the funeral will to a benevolent fund for firefighters and the British Heart Foundation.