Standing together for Freedom Parade

Royal Naval Patrol Service veterans Tom Walkley and Frank Fieldsend
Royal Naval Patrol Service veterans Tom Walkley and Frank Fieldsend
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TWO men who have been friends for more than 80 years stood shoulder to shoulder once more on Sunday.

Frank Fieldsend from Market Rasen and Tom Walkley from Caistor took part in the Freedom Parade to welcome the crew of minesweeper HMS Grimsby back to the town.

Both men served in the Royal Navy Patrol Service during the Second World War.

“We were proud to march in the parade and will continue to do things like this as long as we are able,” Frank told the Rasen Mail.

The parade marched from the Riverhead to the Minster, where a service was held, before the parade lined up once more for the return march.

And for Tom it was a significant achievement, having fought pneumonia, kidney problems and bone cancer recently.

“It was a perfect day – the weather was good and the company was good – and I was so pleased I was able to march both ways.”

Tom also attended a reception aboard HMS Grimsby on Friday night

“It was very special for me,” he said.

“I was there at the commissioning and launch of the ship, so it was good to be aboard again.

“The crew has it very different to our day and they are amazed when we tell them how we worked.”

Tom, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this year, and Frank, who will be 87 in April, say they will continue to take part in events like this for as long as they are able.

“We have even made a promise to visit France in 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day – all being well,” added Tom.