Funeral date set for Stourbridge war veteran

Geoff Capewell

Geoff Capewell

First published in News

A FUNERAL date has been set for a Stourbridge World War II veteran who has died more than 70 years after his family were told he had been presumed drowned at sea.

Stourbridge Royal Naval Association and British Legion member Geoff Capewell was found dead at his home in The Broadway, Norton, on May 1, aged 88.

He suffered a bleed on the brain, according to a post mortem, his nephew Phil Riley said this week.

Geoff’s sister Lilian, aged 85, said her brother was “well-liked by everybody” and news of her his death had come as “such a shock” – as he’d been presumed fit and healthy – but also because it’s the second time she has had to come to terms with losing him.

Geoff, who joined the Royal Navy at 17, was pronounced missing at sea after a torpedo hit and sunk the vessel he was serving on.

Relatives were informed he was 'presumed dead' but miraculously – despite being unable to swim – he clung to floating driftwood and was rescued by a passing boat. However more than a year passed before his family realised he had survived.

Geoff, who grew up in Prescott Road, Stourbridge, served on Liberty ship SS Sampler in the north Atlantic, providing protection to the Atlantic Convoys. He also served on V class destroyer R28 HMS Verulam and on shallow draughted ML169 motor launches - destroying enemy submarine pens.

He was later awarded the Atlantic Star, the Burma Star and the Italian Star medals but he never divulged the details of his wartime efforts.

As a civilian he was a qualified FA referee and often officiated at matches – and in his later years he became a familiar face at Midlands hospitals which he visited regularly to lift the spirits of hospitalised ex-servicemen.

He was also a member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes and the Sons of Rest societies in Stourbridge.

His funeral will be held at Stourbridge Stourbridge Crematorium, South Road, on Tuesday 27 at 11.40am, followed by a gathering at Stourbridge Royal British Legion in Enville Street.

Donations will go to The Royal British Legion.

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