Son pays tribute to Wellingborough war veteran Fred

Fred in his coveted green beret.
Fred in his coveted green beret.

The son of a Wellingborough war veteran has paid tribute to his dad after he passed away at the age of 95.

Fred Carrington, who was born in Wollaston, died last month.

Last year he hit the headlines when a military band performed outside his window because he was unable to go to the band performance in Wellingborough.

Recalling his life and war experiences, son Mike said: “He joined the Royal Marines in 1941 and after volunteering for special training, completed the famous commando training course at Achnachary in Scotland which was known as the ’School For Slaughter’ as it was reckoned to be the toughest battle course in the world.

“Fred recounted how they got off the train at Fort William in Scotland and were marched seven miles in full kit to the camp.

“Anyone failing to complete the march in under an hour was returned to his unit immediately.

“The weeks there included weapons and hand-to-hand combat training.

“They also underwent 36-hour marches over the mountains and night assault training with live bullets fired at them ‘just near enough to be worrying’!

“Those who failed any aspect of the course were sent back to their units though those who passed received the prized Green Beret.

“Later, on the Isle of Wight, Fred had a lucky escape when, during an air raid, a German bomb destroyed his billet, killing four of his unit inside.

“Fred served with 43 RM Commando in North Africa and Italy.

“While on Vis in the Dalmatian Islands his unit, along with the Yugoslav partisans, launched raids against the German-occupied islands in the region.

“In April 1945 his unit, along with other commandos and members of the Special Boat Service (the sister regiment to the SAS), were ordered to attack the Germans at Commachio, a series of inland lagoons near the coast in Italy.

“The action got off to a bad start when the Special Boat Service were bogged down in a lagoon and arrived four hours late covered from head to foot in mud before springing into action.

“Also, some of the commandos were pinned down and had to bayonet-charge German machine guns in order to advance.

“Later that day one of Fred’s unit, a Corporal Thomas Hunter, won the Victoria Cross for clearing a number of machine guns from a farmhouse, though was killed in doing so.

“It was not realised just how successful the action had been until later when it was discovered that the commandos had completely destroyed the equivalent of three battalions of German infantry along with 25 machine guns and some artillery.”

Mike added: “At the end of the war Fred had been promoted to corporal though he was badly injured and spent a couple of years in hospital and convalescent homes.

“Despite his injuries Fred returned to his trade as a carpenter, married Iris and had three sons, myself, Mark and Ian.

“His interests were many and varied.

“He was a member of a number of associations and societies, he loved painting, music and was a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers.

“He gave many talks and put on a number of displays in order to promote the work of the guild.

“The last seven years were spent in bed and for a while he could tie his knots though this became increasingly difficult.

“He also mastered the iPad through which he would converse with friends using e-mail and Facetime and he spent many hours surfing the net.

“During later life Fred often talked about the war and the friends who ‘never came home’.

“He always insisted that he was definitely not a hero and would be horrified if described so.

“He said he ‘just happened to be there’.”