Major Tony Hibbert has passed away (14th Oct. aged 96).
Major James Anthony Hibbert (known as Tony) died at his family home on Sunday age 96.
“He was an energetic and charismatic man, who made a lasting impression on all who met him,” said his daughter Gill Pipkin.
During the Second World War, he launched an astonishing escape from the Nazi’s, hidden by brave Dutch civilians.
And it was his actions later on during the war, leading an 800-strong team of Commandos in capturing the key German port of Kiel that prevented it from falling into Russian hands.
He persuaded a large German garrison to surrender along with military personnel in Denmark and Schleswig Holstein.
It led to him becoming the first Englishman to receive freedom of the German city - The Great Seal of Kiel, granted in 2010 for his bravery and diplomacy.
Major Hibbert also received a commendation from the British Chief of General Staff for his service at Kiel.
It was during training in the family wine and spirits merchant business that Major Hibbert first went to Germany in the 1930s.
“He became alarmed by the militarisation he saw around him,” said Mrs Pipkin.
He returned to England and joined the Royal Military Academy and later joined the Royal Artillery.
After a stink defending the perimeter of Dunkirk, he joined Number 2 Parachute Commando, the foundation of the Parachute Regiment.
He served in North Africa and Italy and was then sent to hold the bridge at Arnhem.
It was here after 48 hours of holding it, that the men got captured and were being transported to German Prisoner of War camps.
During a stop, Major Hibbert and another officer jumped off. Although he escaped, his comrade was recaptured and six other prisoners shot in retaliation.
“This was a memory that haunted him throughout his life,” said Mrs Pipkin.
He received the Military Cross in 1945 and was invalided out of the army two years later.
After the war, Major Hibbert resumed his career with the by now flailing family business CG Hibberts and turned its fortunes around, earning him a Queens Award for industry.
Read more at 404 Not Found