Lasting tribute to Cockleshell hero

Lasting tribute...Service of Remembrance and Dedication of the Memorial to William Henry Mills at the Kettering War Memorial. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/MNT1 001609-6)

Lasting tribute...Service of Remembrance and Dedication of the Memorial to William Henry Mills at the Kettering War Memorial. (Picture: Andrew Carpenter/MNT1 001609-6)

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The family of a Kettering Royal Marine who was executed by the Nazis during the Second World War after being captured during a daring operation attended a ceremony in his honour on Saturday.

Private William Mills was one of a dozen marines who took part in Operation Frankton, a mission to damage or destroy ships in the port of Bordeaux which were supplying German U-boats.

Although the mission was a success, almost all of the soldiers were captured or killed.

On Saturday, about 50 people, including William’s sister-in-law Jessie Mills, attended a ceremony to officially unveil a plaque in his honour at Kettering War Memorial.

The date, March 23, marked 70 years to the day since Pvt Mills was executed after his capture.

Mrs Mills, who lives in Barton Seagrave and was married to Pvt Mills’ brother Brian, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people there, especially considering the snow.

“My husband died about seven years ago but he would have loved it. He spent a lot of time travelling to France and once visited the barn where William spent his last night.”

Mrs Mills thanked Andy Smith, chairman of the Kettering branch of the Royal British Legion, for organising the ceremony.