War hero George hits a century
A Wearside war hero who took part in the Siege of Tobruk before spending 18 months as a prisoner of war has been honoured by members of his former regiment on his 100th birthday.
George “Sid” Elliott was presented with a commemorative statue by members of the Durham Light Infantry Association’s Sunderland branch.
Son-in-law Keith Darke, who is married to daughter Moira, said George had been born in Berwick and only moved to Sunderland after the war.
Michael McMahon, from the DLI Association, took up the story of George’s war service.
“He was called up in 1940 and enlisted at Brancepeth Castle in the First Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry,” he said.
“The First Battalion got posted to Egypt and George was at Tobruk, then he went to Malta to be part of the defence of the island.”
Getting wind of a planned mass German invasion, the British forces evacuated to the Greek Islands, where George was part of the reinforcements for the recently surrendered Italian garrison on Leros.
Taken prisoner in an invasion by the German’s crack Brandenburg Corps, he was sent to Stalag 11A Altengrabow, just outside Berlin, where he spent 18 months before being liberated by the Americans in 1945.
“After the war he met his wife Elizabeth in Sunderland,” said Keith.
“He started working at the Co-op in South Hylton, went from there to the store in Green Street, then to Brian Mills in Hendon.”
Elizabeth passed away 15 years ago, but the couple have a second daughter, Eileen Carr, two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Family and friends gathered for George’s party at Falstone Manor Care Home, where he has lived since June.