At his recent funeral in Yiewsley, Rifleman Percy Alex McCormack was honoured by men of the London Irish Rifles, with whom he served during the Second World War in North Africa and Italy from 1942 to 1945.
One of his daughters, Maureen, said:
“He was obviously a young man when he fought in Italy and we can’t imagine what he must have seen. All he used to tell us was about his downtime, and how he used to go out and meet girls and he would joke and make it sound like he had very fond memories of the place. Myself and my sister took him back to Italy because we thought he would like to see it again, but it was clear that was really very difficult for him. It really gave us a different insight into his life – he never spoke about the bad things…” she said.
A piper and members of D Company attended Mr McCormack’s funeral, which was held on 17th October at St Matthew’s Church in High Street, Yiewsley. His brother and sister, twins Reggie and Rene, 86, were also at the funeral, along with his extended family of children and grandchildren.
Rifleman McCormack had returned home in September 1945 and met up with old friends, including one of his sister’s friends, Averill, who would soon become his wife. “My Mum and Dad had known each other before the war, but Mum didn’t see Dad for six years while he was away and they met up again once he had returned,” Maureen said. “Within a month, they were married.”
Percy and Averill were married at St Mathew’s and their nine children were also christened there; the eldest Maureen, along with Sheila, Celia, Alec, Christine, Vincent, Dean, Lance and Shawn – who died as a baby.
“There were a lot of us and times were sometimes hard but we never went hungry, and Mum and Dad made sure we were always provided for. We were a very happy family. Christmas was always the best at our house because there were so many of us and we always had someone to play with. The rest of the family always wanted to come to us for Christmas because it was always the most fun,” Maureen said.
After the war, Percy worked as a bricklayer, helping to build houses right across the borough, and he did not retire until he was over 70.
After 95 years and 4 months, Percy had enjoyed a truly rich, fulfilled life.
Thanks is due to the Uxbridge and West Drayton Gazette. Read more here.