Pier’s footbridge will leave a legacy to fallen comrades

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TRIBUTES from the friends and family of a Whitby soldier who was found dead have started flooding in.

They expressed their shock at the sudden death of John Buck (left), who was an Artificer Sergeant Major with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

He was found dead on Friday 23 December at his living quarters in Fallingbostel, Germany, where he lived with his wife Rachel, also from Whitby, and his three children Jordan (18), Kiefer (14) and Erin (13).

The Ministry of Defence confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and that John was not on active service at the time.

Colin Winspear, a cousin of John, led the way with the tributes and pledged to carry out John’s idea to have the two piers in Whitby named after fallen soldiers Corporal Damian Lawrence and Craftsman Andrew Found, who was a member of the unit John was in charge of.

He said: “John was taken from us too soon and his passing has sent a shockwave throughout the families we shared. His legacy as a father will live on in his children, and his example as a soldier will live on the the men that served with him.

“Without his initial suggestion, the dedication of the new West Pier footbridge to Andrew and Damian would never have got off the ground. The bridge will be their memorial, the project will be John’s.

“I have John’s photo on my Facebook profile, as a tribute to him. In the first day of it being there, I had messages from some of my female friends.

“All of them asking if it was a recent photo of me, as I looked “really hot!”

“This would have had John in hysterics, I imagined him ripping me all day about it while being egged on by his late father-in-law Paul.”

Colin added that he left the RAF in 1987 after 13 years and it never crossed his mind he would salute anyone again. But on the day of John’s funeral he would stand proud and when the West Pier footbridge is dedicated he will crack open a beer and have a drink for John.

Among the many tributes and messages left on the Whitby Gazette website and Facebook pages, Carolyn Jones said: “words are never enough – thinking of Rachel, Jordan, Kiefer and Erin xxxxx”.

L Taylor added: “John is one of my very best friends, we are part of a group of still serving and ex-military men and women, a group of people that have been left shocked and numb by this terrible tragedy.

“JB (as John was known) will always be missed by each and everyone of us, a legend within the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

“JB, we all do our best for Rachel and the kids mate.

“From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered, we lucky few, we Band of Brothers ... until the FRV sleep tight pal, words cannot describe how sorely missed you will be.

“Arte et Marte.”