Normandy veteran dies aged 95
TRIBUTES have been paid to a hero veteran who has passed away at the age of 95.
Major Jos Mark, was a Normandy veteran former Gurkha officer and Honorary Life President of the Carlisle and Stanwix Branch of the British Legion, was surrounded by his family when he died at Penrith Hospital at 7.20pm on Saturday, February, 16th.
The Carlisle great-grandfather, who was born on December 26, 1923, dedicated his latter years to visiting schools in and around the city to tell his tales from Normandy, and ensure the next generation are aware of the sacrifices of their forefathers.
At the outbreak of World War Two Major Mark, at the age of 16, became a ‘boy soldier’ setting up anti-aircraft guns in the London area.
His claim to fame during this time is that he helped set up the anti-aircraft gun emplacement at 10 Downing Street. Later, as D-Day approached, he had joined the Royal Logistics Corp.
He was in the second wave of troops during the Normandy landings and one of over 3,000 soldiers of the brigade tasked with capturing Hill 112, southwest of Caen that overlooked Normandy.
The battle for the hill started in early July 1944 and it wasn’t until August 4 – and the loss of several thousand soldiers – that the German forces withdrew from the hill and left it in the hands of the British.
Having survived Normandy, Jos was assigned to reinforce the army at Arnhem in September 1944 and then crossed the Dutch border to Nijmegen.
Finally he was assigned to enter Bergen Belsen, the notorious German concentration camp where he rescued the woman who would later become his wife.