A ROYAL Marine commando who survived bloody Second World War battles in Italy, has died at the age of 100.
Fred Ames, celebrated his 100th birthday in July last year saying at the time: ‘I’m a survivor.’
During World War Two Fred and his comrades were surrounded on three sides by lethal German Panzer divisions as the Allies invaded Italy at Anzio and moved up the Italian coast after months of fierce fighting.
He was a beach commando carrying out dangerous landings ahead of the main forces and later saw action in the south of France after D-Day.
He modestly said of his war service: ‘It was no different to anyone else, nothing too exciting.
‘We boarded small motor boats for a night crossing to Palermo in Sicily where we joined forces with the American 5th Army.
‘We then moved on to mainland Italy where I fired my first shots in anger, or more likely fear, in the Battle of Anzio. The Germans soon brought in Panzers and other crack troops which made life more difficult.’
During the Battle of Anzio 7,000 Allies were killed and 36,000 wounded or missing, with 5,000 Germans killed and 30,500 wounded with 4,500 captured before the Allies broke out and entered Rome.
Fred, who joined the Royal Marines as an 18 year old in 1942, was in Naples Bay to see Vesuvius last erupt in March 1944 as the top of the volcano blew off with a huge cloud of ash thrown several miles into the sky.
He became a military policeman based back at Yettington in Devon calling it ‘forced labour’, before demob and becoming a bus conductor and driver and hospital porter.
The father of two, grandfather of four and great grandfather of three, met his late wife Marion in a forces club canteen in Exeter and they wed in 1947.
He said the secret of a long marriage was saying ‘yes dear’ adding: ‘You both say it, you must not submit all the time.’
Fred, who had moved to a care home, said as he celebrated his milestone birthday: ‘I’m feeling well. I’m fine and in no pain. I’m a survivor.’
His son Richard said his father died in the Exeter care home where he lived last week.
He said: ‘Dad had a very peaceful and short passing. We will be having a funeral at Ide Church which we shall also use a a memorial for mum as she died during Covid and could not have the life celebration that she deserved.’
An Ide villager said: ‘Fred was the nicest man ever. He was always smiling and chipper.
‘He was an absolute hero and will be sadly missed.’