War veteran who operated local coach company dies aged 96

Alfred Blackbourn

Alfred Blackbourn - Credit: Archant

A Second World War veteran who operated a local coach company has died.

Alfred Blackbourn

Alfred Blackbourn - Credit: Archant

Alfred Sydney Blackbourn, was born in 1920 in Cleethorpes near Grimsby, but spent the majority of his life living in the Great Yarmouth area.

He was best known locally for his role in the family business Norfolk Motor Services Ltd which ran across the county.

He started his early working days as an apprentice in a pharmacy before he joined the RAF at the age of 18. As part of his training he was sent to Canada, before later being based in the Mediterranean and the Far East.

On VE Night he was flying in a Wellington bomber when his raid was cancelled, and he ended up spending the night with his colleagues, toasting the news of peace across Europe. He wasl in Jerusalem on VJ Day when Japan surrendered.

Jeffrey Brown, a friend of 30 years said: “He was offered European, Mediterranean and Far East medals but he turned them down - he always told me he never deserved the medals. He always thought they deserved to go to his friends and colleagues who lost their lives.”

Alfred was demobbed in 1948 and his father convinced him to work for Granville Coaches, a company operating in Grimsby.

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Together they moved to Yarmouth, bringing four coaches with and began operating under the name Norfolk Motor Services. The company grew and had over 30 coaches in the fleet.

The buses operated from what is now the home of Staples in Great Yarmouth.

He met his wife Ella, who he married in 1954 at St Andrew’s Church. She died in 2010.

Mr Brown said: “Alfred was a good friend of mine, His wife Ella and I made a pact where I said I would look after either of them when I could if either of them died.”

Mr Blackbourne died on November 3 at the age of 96 in his home in Gorleston. There will be a private funeral on November 22 at St Andrew’s Church followed by a wake at the Masonic Lodge which people are invited to attend at around noon.