FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to a Second World war veteran who has passed away.

Bill Parker, 97, lived at Caldy Manor with Dorothy, his wife of 65 years.

Born in West Kirby, Bill served with the Cheshire Yomanry and went on to join the 4th Battalion Parachute Regiment, wearing the 'Red Beret' with pride.

He was part of operation 'Market Garden' and parachuted into Arnhem in 1944.

After a week of being subjected to almost constant artillery, tank and infantry attacks, he was evacuated south of the River Rhine.

During the battle of Arnhem, the brigade's total casualties amounted to seventy eight percent.

As family spokesperson told the Globe: "Bill was a true hero and a loyal friend.

"A fellow comrade who broke his leg during the operation was put in a wheelbarrow and taken as far as was possible.

"Having to leave his friend on the main road and hoping he would not be shot by enemy fire, Bill never knew what became of his friend, Doug.

"Many years later, Bill saw a message in the Yomanry monthly newsletter from Doug who was looking for him.

"They were reunited when Bill and Dorothy were travelling across Australia and visited Doug in Perth." 

Bill and Doug recorded their stories and these are held at the Imperial War Museum in London and in Oosterbeek Bill did not talk about his experience of war and did not return to Arnhem for many years.

He finally made the journey with Dorothy in 2001.

Bill and Dorothy were married in 1952 after meeting on Hilbre Island. They had twin girls, Gillian and Jane and then another daughter, Lesley.

After war service, Bill was regional manager for Nestles.

After retiring, he and Dorothy travelled with their mobile Crepe kitchen, working at events all over the country and abroad.

Bill and Dorothy never stopped helping others and served meals to elderly people in the community.

Bill was President of the Rotary Association and helped with the annual Christmas sleigh fundraising.

Daughter Lesley said: "Bill will be sadly missed by his family, residents and staff at Caldy Manor Care Home.

"He was a true hero and we are glad we knew him and cared for him.

"Pa was best summed up by the poem It couldn't be done by Edgar Albert Guest.

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done

But he with a chuckle replied

That 'maybe it couldn’t, but he would be one who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin On his face.

If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing, as he tackled the thing That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure,

There are thousands to point out to you One by one, The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the Thing That

‘cannot be done’, and you’ll do it.

Deborah Thomas, activity co-ordinator from Caldy Manor told the Globe: "Bill will be sadly missed by his family, residents and staff at Caldy Manor Care Home.

"He was a true hero and we are glad we knew him and cared for him.