Solemn send-off for decorated veteran Ken

WWII veteran Ken Blake, who passed away in July 2014
WWII veteran Ken Blake, who passed away in July 2014

A decorated veteran born two years after the end of the First World War has passed away peacefully aged 93.

Ken Blake was the son of a nurse who worked on the Western Front during the Great War, and went on himself to serve in the Second World War after being called up aged just 18.

His first assignment was at Dunkirk, and later served in Malta where he was made a prisoner of war at the hands of Germany.

Plucky Ken managed to escape and was rescued by the Americans, though he weighed just four stone and was suffering pneumonia and TB. He was awarded the Maltese Cross for Gallantry.

Ken later moved to Hemel Hempstead as a new town and worked here as a postman here until he retired.

He also regularly volunteered in the Royal British Legion poppy appeal until the age of 90.

Town MP Mike Penning said: “Ken was the last-known Dunkirk veteran in Hemel. He was an amazing guy – when you think of a true war hero, he was it. He was always there for everybody, and to tell a good story.”

He died peacefully in his sleep on July 18, and his funeral was held last week.