Sheffield stops to pay respects to 'true gentleman' military hero 'deeply scarred' by war
A war hero left scarred by the horrors he experienced was given the send-off he deserved as Sheffield stopped to pay its respects.
Military veterans formed a guard of honour outside a church on Ecclesall Road for the funeral of Douglas Hopewell, who served in the Korean War.
Doug, as he was better known, was conscripted aged 18 and served in Germany, patrolling the border between east and west, before being posted to the Hook in Korea, where his family told how he experienced ‘bitter hand-to-hand fighting’.
His son-in-law David Warwick said: “Doug recalled how the North Koreans and axis powers seemed to have an endless supply of soldiers. He recalled the fear of having huge numbers of enemy soldiers running at his foxhole, as his and his colleagues’ ammunition started to run out.
“He recalled being out on patrol with his mates and coming across a Russian T34 tank, which they managed to knock out. He told how the Americans were very kind helping them out, as British soldiers were poorly equipped and the Americans had equipment to burn.
“He was a royalist, but always abided by the soldiers’ moto: they didn't fight for the Queen, or the cause, not even for themselves, but for their mate at the side of them. Doug didn't like to speak of his time in Korea – the horrors of war had clearly left a deep impacting scar on his soul.
“Whenever he did, he had tears in his eyes, recalling the mates that were not as lucky as him to return home.”
Doug began his military career training with the Prince of Wales Regiment, before joining the Duke of Wellington's Regiment.
After a short spell with the Parachute Regiment, he left the Army after five-and-a-half years, having reached the rank of corporal, and completed a further five years in the Army Reserve.
Doug was born in December 1932 in Attercliffe and was the second oldest of five siblings.
He was married to Patricia for 61 years and they had a daughter Joanna and two grandchildren: Hannah, a 23-year-old school teacher; and Harry, 20, who followed him into the military as an RAF mechanical engineer.
After leaving the Army, Doug worked for Shell BP as a lorry driver and then Radio Rentals as a TV engineer.
He was passionate about trains, radios and cars, and was a founder member of the Sheffield & District Society of Model & Experimental Engineers, which runs the popular family attraction Abbeydale Miniature Railway near Dore & Totley station.
He sadly lost his two-year battle with cancer, aged 88, and fellow veterans turned out in force last Friday, October 15, for his funeral at St William’s Church, where he and Patricia tied the knot in 1960.
David told how, despite his long illness, Doug had ‘kept his humour to the end’.
He added: “A sharp dressed man, always impeccably turned out, who spoke his mind. A true gentleman and a loss to his friends, family and the city which gave him life.”