Tributes have been paid following the death of a Second World War veteran who fought his way through Europe and helped liberate Brussels.
Bill Evans, 93, who passed away at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital following a short illness, was a popular resident at Pendine Park’s Gwern Alyn Care Home in Hillbury Road.
He leaves two sons, John and Robert.
Back in 2016 Bill was thrilled to be invited to the garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.
The ex-Royal Welsh Fusilier was accompanied by his favourite senior care practitioner Mandy Williams.
In the same year he also met First Minister Carwyn Jones when he visited Gwern Alyn and in the November he helped to launch the annual Poppy Appeal in Wrexham.
A native of Kerry near Newtown, Bill joined the army in 1943 and saw action in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Speaking in 2016, he recalled: “I arrived in Southampton just after D-Day, and we were told we were going to Normandy.
“We fought our way through to the Faliese Gap where the Germans had us pinned down for three weeks. I witnessed some terrible sights.
“We went through Belgium, we helped liberate Brussels and went back after the war for a parade and were given the freedom of the city. That was marvellous.
“We went through Holland, places like Amsterdam and Rotterdam on our way to Bremen. When the war ended in Europe we were told we were going to America to join up with the Americans to invade Japan.
“The war was very difficult and I have a lot of very painful memories. I survived by using intelligence and being careful.
“It was a case of kill or be killed, I never thought too much about it when I was younger but I think about it a lot now. It is very difficult and I get very upset sometimes when the memories come back.
“I lost so many friends, good young men, it just wasn’t right. I still remember my number, 14635666.
“Everyone said I’d get killed having three sixes at the end of my number and there were many times I came close but I survived. I was one of the lucky ones.”
After the war and his military service ended, Bill returned to mid Wales before working on a farm at Eardiston, Shropshire.
He said “I married my first wife, Doris, and we had two sons. John lives in Birmingham and Robert who lives in Ludlow. John has three children.
“I lived with my second wife, Violet, for 30 years until she died four years ago. I miss her so much.”
“We are going to have a great day in London though. I decided to ask Mandy to come with me as it’s an invitation for two. She is always so good to me – they all are at Gwern Alyn in truth. I’ve just got a soft spot for Mandy.
“I hope to meet the Queen but it doesn’t matter we will still have a lovely day even if we don’t. We are going on the train which will make it even better; it’s a long way to drive.
“And you never know, I might just meet up with someone I served with during the war, wouldn’t that be something after all these long years?”
According to Gwern Alyn manager Jen Roberts, Bill was a “wonderful man” who would be missed by fellow residents and staff alike.
She said: “Bill was an amazing and lovely man who deserved recognition from the Queen for the sacrifices he made during the war years.
“He had a brilliant time in London and it was a lovely gesture on his behalf to invite Mandy to go with him.”