Dedicated to the memory of Ernie Covill
1924 – 2021
Ernie who visited the Crowland Buffalo on Friday 4 June, to join in the celebrations of the recovery of the vehicle, sadly died on Thursday 12 August at the age of 97.
Ernie was born and lived in the Boston, Lincolnshire area of the UK. He was a lorry driver with the Royal Army Service Corps transporting vital supplies to Allied troops during World War II (WW2) which included driving amphibious vehicles including Buffaloes across the River Rhine. The Rhine was the last great natural barrier the allies had to cross before they could head east into central Germany and eventual victory.
Ernie was awarded many medals for his service including the 1939-1945 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal 1939 – 1945, the French Legion d’Honneur (Chevalier).
WW2 vets including Ernie told their stories in the local newspaper Spalding Today in 2020. You can also find below a recollection of WW2 memories by Ernie. They were played to a coach of young people as they travelled from Lincolnshire to lay red roses on war graves in Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Ernie had also been involved with the Anglia Motel Pilgrimages for more than 30 years. As well as attending trips to Normandy and Dunkirk he also supported the fundraising and was keen to attend as many events as he could. Anglia Motel Pilgrimages was set up 30 years ago by the owner of the motel, Harold Payne to raise funds so veterans can go back to pay their respects to those that didn’t make it back. The Guardian newspaper covered the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings in 2014, the story includes a photo of Ernie at the memorial monument at the US cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, in Normandy, France.
While visiting the Crowland Buffalo Ernie had talked about his experiences during World War Two. He became ‘quite emotional’ as seeing the Buffalo had brought back both good and bad memories for him. Hearing these stories from a veteran who operated vehicles like this during the war really brought things home to everyone who was there.
Ernie passed away peacefully, after a short illness at Willoughby Grange Nursing Home, on August 12 2021 aged 97 years.
A procession of army vehicles including two amphibious vehicles took place to celebrate Ernie’s life at his funeral on 2 September 2021. As well as friends and family the funeral was also attended by soldiers from the 32nd Engineer Regiment. As Ernie’s coffin was carried into the crematorium by soldiers from the regiment he was accompanied by the tune “Flowers of the Forest” played on bagpipes. Thank you to Anglia Motel Pilgrimages for the photos below.
Thanks to Jill and Paul along with Ernie family.
You can find an obituary notice on the funeral notices website where you can leave messages. The funeral was also covered in the local newspaper.