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Tributes to war veteran ‘Scotch Bill’ Fraser

Tributes to war veteran and local political activist Bill Fraser, who died on New Year's Day aged 95, have been led by Simon Hughes MP.

Bill Fraser

Bill Fraser, a Scot from Inverness who had lived in Southwark since the 1950s and who had an outstanding war record in the Cameron Highlanders, was given a proud send off at his funeral at Honor Oak last Saturday and then remembered with affection by family and friends at his local The Flowers of the Forest in Westminster Bridge Road.

''I am one of many people who will miss Bill very much indeed," says Simon Hughes MP, who knew Fraser well.

"Bill had clearly been a brave and good soldier and given his country great service in the Second World War. Bill had also become a great and active member of our community in and around Waterloo.

"Until almost the end, Bill behaved and lived like a man much younger than his advanced years, and was always alert, lively, well informed and fun. In an age when we are encouraging young people to look for role models, Bill would deserve to be right at the top of the list.

"Sincere condolences go to his family and to his other close friends. We are proud to have known him."

Bill Fraser, a widower who had married twice, is survived by his brother, daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren, many of whom paid their tributes last Saturday.

Bill Fraser had died in the early hours of New Year's Day, to the sound of fireworks, after being admitted to St Thomas' Hospital on New Year's Eve. As Bill was born on 29 February 1912, his whole life was spent with jokes about his age – and even at his funeral the priest described him as somebody who was at the same time 95 and 23 and three quarters!

Bill's outstanding war record included playing a key part in an attack on Agedabia in Libya where 37 Italian fighter bombers were destroyed, and an epic two-week trek of over 350 kilometres through the desert to bring himself and his patrol to safety.

Although Bill settled in Southwark, some of his family remained in Scotland and the North of England and others emigrated to Australia.

He was well known around Gerridge Court in Gerridge Street where he lived, not least for his care he gave to the communal areas of his block and, in particular, the flowers on his balcony and in the yard which won two Southwark in Bloom awards and were appreciated by residents and visitors alike.

Bill was an ardent Liberal and Liberal Democrat and helped with delivery and at elections well into his 90s, as well as attending local social events – where he was often first on to the dance floor and last off.

Bill was well known in his local – The Flowers of the Forest – where many knew and appreciated him as Scotch Bill.

In recent years, he was looked after in particular by his half-brother George and his daughter Myra.

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