'He was our hero': Tributes paid to Wolverhampton WWll veteran after death aged 96

Tributes have been paid to a Second World War veteran from Wolverhampton who has died aged 96.

Harry Busby, pictured in November 2019 with his great granddaughters, Gabriella Zangaro and Luciana Zangaro
Harry Busby, pictured in November 2019 with his great granddaughters, Gabriella Zangaro and Luciana Zangaro

He took part in daring convoys to Russia and Canada and earned an array of medals for his bravery.

Harry Busby, as seen in the Second World War

The Wolves fan, who lived in Wednesfield, leaves behind three daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

His granddaughter Zoe Zangaro, 28, from Wednesfield, paid tribute to Harry as a loving family man who "held them together like glue".

He died in the acute medical unit at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, on December 8, having caught pneumonia.

His funeral will take place at St Peter's Church, in Wolverhampton city centre, on January 12, where there will be a limited gathering due to Covid.

Zoe said: "As a father, he was protective, nurturing and kind. As a grandfather, he was funny, guiding and somebody to be proud of.

"He was our hero, not only for what he did in the Royal Navy in the Second World War, he was the glue that held our family together.

Zoe and Harry, 20 years apart. Zoe was seven in the top picture and 27 in bottom

"He was a true gentleman with a cheeky side too, always full of smiles and funny, repetitive one-liners.

"He was the man that everybody knew or knew of, the man that everybody said 'hello' to as they were passing by.

"He was proud of his family and his family are incredibly proud of him."

Harry was born in Wolverhampton on July 30, 1924.

He went to school in Bushbury, attending Bushbury Hill, Infants & Junior School and then Moreton Secondary School.

With the onset of war, Harry enlisted for service as a 17-year-old boy, where he lied about his age so he could avenge his older brother Charlie, who died nine months earlier in action, aged just 19.

He was sent to training in Birmingham and Portsmouth before he was posted on HMS Keppel, a U-boat destroyer.

The ship took part in convoys across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada and onto Russia, in the Arctic Circle, escorting cargo ships and hunting German U-boats.

One operation saw HMS Keppel lay depth charges in the water, ahead of the D-Day landings in 1944, in a bid to disable the U-boats.

Although the war ended in 1945, Harry continued serving until 1947, where he was posted to Japan with the British Army.

After the war, Harry married his wife Irene at St Peter's Church, in Wolverhampton, on January 20 1951.


He became a policeman and served in that role for four years, until he was told he could no longer live at a pub he was staying at, owned by Irene's parents.

Harry then became a water treatment engineer for John Thompson, in Ettingshall, Wolverhampton, a job which allowed him to travel the world.

In his spare time, Harry enjoyed a pint of Banks' at the Moreton Arms, in Fordhouses, gardening, and watching football, particularly Wolves.

Harry's family have thanked the "amazing staff" at New Cross Hospital for the care he received during the last 10 days of his life.

William Harry Busby

They have also thanked Highcroft Hall Care Home, in Wolverhampton, where Harry stayed since February.

Harry's funeral will take place at 10.15am, with the procession leaving his home in Wednesfield to St Peter's Church, arriving at 11am.

Anybody wishing to pay their respects are asked to socially distance outside the church, or his home.

Donations are being welcomed to the Royal British Legion, or Cancer Research UK, in his memory.

Zoe is asking anyone who has memories of Harry to email and share them with her at z.zangaro@outlook.com.

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