The service to celebrate the life of Jacob Henry Hill, better known to us all as Harry, took place at Holy Trinity on Thursday 15th December; a cold but sunny afternoon. Harry had reached his 102nd birthday in May this year, and many of us will remember celebrating his 100th birthday at a distance because of the Covid restrictions – and watching the occasion later on the North West News. The service was conducted by the Vicar, Rev Peter Hamborg, and the opening hymn, ‘How Great Thou Art’ was followed by the eulogy, read by Harry’s nephew, Gordon Tarrant. who had the difficult task of condensing a full life, well lived into a few minutes. Gordon recalled many stories about Harry, including his time in the RAF during WW2.
He told the story of how Harry had been one of the first soldiers to reach the Gestapo HQ in Berlin, and had taken away as souvenirs, maps which showed the stately homes throughout the British Isles where the German Generals would live after the invasion! When he got them home, his wife, Rose, was afraid that he’d be in trouble if caught, so they burned them – can you imagine what they might have been worth today! Harry himself had recalled this, and other stories of his wartime experiences, during several of the Remembrance Days he attended at Holy Trinity, always proudly wearing his medals and regimental badge.
Another of his nephews, Frank Warnock, then read a poem that Harry had written as a tribute to Rose, when she died in 2014. The poem, entitled ‘Mission Completed’ as a reminder perhaps of his RAF service, summed up the wonderfully happy life they had shared together. Since moving to Bolton-le-Sands, Harry had become a regular member of the congregation at Holy Trinity, and often referred to Psalm 23, a reminder of his life among the farming communities perhaps, as well as his insistence that ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’. Psalm 23 was read by Harry’s friend, Andy Williams, and was referred to later by Rev Hamborg in his Homily to Harry. After prayers, the second hymn was ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ – so appropriate for a serviceman who had served his country so well. As a poignant reminder of his wartime service service and perhaps as a message to Rose, the service closed with Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again”.
Donations in memory of Harry will be made to The Bay Hospitals Charity, and may be sent to
Alan M Fawcett, Funeral Directors
120 Kellet Road, CARNFORTH LA59LS