Our Friend Alfred

Dunkirk veteran Alfred Smith who had been an honoured guest at Endeavour functions died aged 99 last November. The Shoebury-based old soldier's face could be seen on billboards and buses throughout the town as part of a Remembrance campaign. He also appeared on Countryfile standing
alongside Endeavour.

He was a guest at the premiere of Christopher Nolan's film, Dunkirk where he met actor Mark
Rylance, and told the star his experiences. He also met Prince Harry at Kensington Palace ahead of the premiere where he was cheered as he marched down the red carpet.

As well as being rescued from Dunkirk in 1940 Alfred also took part in the Normandy landings
in 1944. He served with the Royal Army Service Corps. At Dunkirk he spent two days on the beach without food or water. His unit was constantly shelled and bombed. He was one of only 31 survivors out of 107 men.

Alfred waded into the Channel and managed to reach a paddle steamer. Once aboard he collapsed from hunger and only woke when the ship docked in Harwich. He went on to take part in the Normandy landings in 1944. In 2015 the French government award him the Legion of Honour, the country's top accolade for those who served with valour.

After the war Alfred was a driving instructor and a top ballroom dancer who appeared on TV.

Alfred was an honoured guest at Endeavour functions and with the late David Wightman enjoyed a trip aboard the boat.

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