THE family of a World War Two veteran who died recently have paid tribute to him, calling him a “lovely, lovely man.”

Reg Salisbury, died aged 95, but his family chose not to have a funeral service in line with his wishes.

The veteran who served in an elite special forces unit, known as the Chindits, had told them his comrades had been buried without servies in the jungle in Japanese-occupied Burma, now Myanmar.

Mr Salisbury was part of a team who carried out special operations described as ‘seek and destroy’ and later found it difficult to talk about the war.

However, he told his family that a last-minute position swap with a corporal saved him from a bullet.

Son-in-law Michael Smith described him as "lovely" adding: “He put the gentle in gentleman.”

Mr Salisbury was born in Stockwell, South London in 1923 and was working in a factory in Birmingham when he was called up in 1941.

He began his army career in the Warwick regiment, before volunteering for the Essex regiment of the elite Chindit operation.

He chose to do that, said Mr Smith, because he was “21 and fearless.”

Mr Salisbury trained in India and was chosen for the squad by carrying a 60lb backpack on a 170-mile march across the Indian mountains.

He had risen to the rank of sergeant by the time he left the army in 1947 and joined his mother and sister who had been evacuated to Pershore.

It was inside a pub in Pershore that Reg met a woman playing darts named Joy – the pair fell “madly in love” and were married on Easter Monday 1951 at Pershore Abbey.

They went on to have a daughter Lyn, three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mr Salisbury was also an avid sportsman, playing both hockey and cricket for Pershore. He was captain of his hockey team and played until he was 50.

He stayed in touch with his military past through the reassembled 77th Brigade, and was invited to Clarence House to meet with Prince Charles.

He died on April 25 after a short illness.

Mr Smith said: “His view was that most of his comrades never had a service, they were just buried in the jungle. He never had a strong faith, and only went to church to see his grandchildren get married.

“He’d rather have a party, so we’re just honouring his wishes.”

He was quietly cremated on Thursday, May 10 and a celebration of his life will be held at Pool House, Great Comberton at 2pm on Wednesday, June 20.