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Brighton war hero given funeral guard of honour
Veterans formed a funeral guard of honour for a war hero yesterday.
John Slinger, who served in the Royal Engineers in the Second World War, died on Christmas Day aged 93.
His body was escorted through Brighton’s Woodvale Crematorium by two flag-bearers.
A guard of honour saluted the Union Jack-covered coffin as it was carried into the North Chapel.
Some 50 veterans, friends and family members gathered outside before joining the private ceremony.
Mr Slinger, who was born in Birmingham, joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of the war in 1939.
He was involved in the heroic evacuation of the British Army at Dunkirk in 1940 and was one of the last off the beach, having blown up a number of bridges to slow the German advance.
Following a short period of rest and recuperation, he was shipped out to North Africa where he was involved in the defence of Tobruk. Towards the end of the 240-day siege he was captured by the Germans and was being transported to a prisoner of war camp in Poland. But during a toilet stop in woods in Italy he made his escape and was taken in by locals.
He lived in the nearby hills for a number of months before he was re-captured. This time he reached a camp, where he remained for the rest of the war.
After leaving the army he joined the hotel trade and moved to the Sussex coast. He first lived in Peacehaven before moving to Friar Crescent, Brighton, after meeting his wife in 1974.
In his later years he became heavily involved in both the Dunkirk Veterans Association and Royal Engineers Association. He spoke out about the importance of remembrance and in 2000 made an emotional return to Dunkirk where 60 years previously he was fighting for his life.
He leaves his wife Joan, 71, step-children Charles Gimenez, 50 and Elizabeth Burley, 45, along with five grandchildren.
Donations in his memory are to be sent to the Royal Engineers Association.
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