Tributes paid as D-day hero turned vicar dies aged 97

A distinguished vicar and honoured seaman who played a key role in the D-Day landings at Normandy has died at the age of 97.

Rev. Preb Dick Sargent, centre, played a key role in the D-Day landings in Normandy before serving as a vicar
Rev. Preb Dick Sargent, centre, played a key role in the D-Day landings in Normandy before serving as a vicar

Rev. Preb. Dick Sargent, who died on December 24, was ordained as deacon in 1952 and, after serving in Chester Diocese, was vicar in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, from 1967 to 1973 and Castle Church in Stafford from 1973 to 1989.

He was also Rural Dean of Stafford from 1981 to 1988 and a prebend at Lichfield Cathedral from 1987 until his retirement in 1989.

Eight years before his ordination, as a 19-year-old, Mr Sargent was a Royal Navy sub-lieutenant tasked with landing troops on Utah Beach in the early hours of June 6, 1944.

This included spending half an hour in the water getting boats off the sandbanks of Normandy beach.

His efforts led to him being appointed to the rank of chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur in 2016, one of the highest distinctions given by the French Government.

At the time of his award, Mr Sargent said: "I am very delighted that what we did that morning has been recognised in this way as it fits in very well with Remembrance Sunday."

Mr Sargent continued to serve following his retirement, having gained permission to officiate, and worshipped in the Mid Trent churches.

The Bishop of Lichfield, Rt Rev. Dr Michael Ipgrave, said: "Through almost 10 decades of Christian faith and seven decades of Christian ministry, Dick exemplified what it means to live by faith, to care for the people of God, and to live life to the full.

"He was a priest of great commitment, integrity and courage, and we salute all that he gave to the Church of England, in this diocese and beyond."

Details of Mr Sargent's funeral will be announced in due course.

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