On Thursday July 27th I took the ferry to England to serve as pallbearer at the funeral of a dear friend. Not the most enjoyable trip to make. But this was an honour, and my duty: I needed to be there, for Albert. For Sgt. Albert Figg, commander of a 25-pounder gun, 112th Field Artillery Regiment, 43rd Wessex Division, at Hill 112 in the Odon river valley below Caen, capital of Normandy.
Under the circumstances, one can hardly describe a funeral as “wonderful”. Yet this was the exact case. I witnessed an emotional, moving and sometimes funny tribute to my dear friend. All involved did their utmost best, and I was especially moved by the tribute by Albert’s old friend Maurits Huybrechtse, saying: “we will now take over, Albert.” As usual (I am referring to the annual D-Day ceremony in Normandy) , the Revd. Mandy Reynolds’ service was impressive and, to me personally, comforting. I was so glad she was there for Albert.
Albert Figg was my hero. Befitting, he got a hero’s funeral: family, friends from abroad, the “last post”, veterans, standard bearers etc. The 25-pounder, quad and limber were a sight to behold, and the crew did a marvellous job. Through Canterbury, all the way up to Barham Crematorium. What a sight! How Albert would have loved all this! Not for himself, but any publicity was always welcome to put his comrades-in-arms at Hill 112 in the spotlight.
Yes, Albert can rest easy. In the words of Maurits Huybrechtse: we will take over from here, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Koen Van Parijs
Field Gun, Limber and Quad
We would like to most sincerely thank Andy Thomas and the Stoodly family in fulfilling Albert’s last wish by taking him on his last journey with the Quad, Limber and Gun, just like the one he used in WW2.
Its the same one that Albert would stand up in whilst being driven around the arena at the Combined Ops, Headcorn, invariably advertising his latest project. The last one was to advertise his life story just last August. It was then that he asked Andy and his mum, Vicky, if they would use it for his funeral.
Andy is the owner of the FRS Collection of WW2 equipment, who with the help of family, maintains the quad, limber and gun. The collection is preserved and exhibited for the benefit of historians, students and past and serving Royal Artillery personnel interested in the equipment and its history.
Forces Network video
Albert Figg’s funeral took place on 28 July 2017 in Canterbury, Kent. Video courtesy of Forces Network
A selection of tributes to the memory of Albert Figg:
Thanks to pictureexclusive.com for the photography supplied on this page