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Hand drawn carriage for the funeral of 101-year-old Cyril Collins of Falmouth

By West Briton  |  Posted: April 11, 2013

  • Cyril celebrates his 101st birthday in May last year.

  • Funeral for 101 year old Cyril Collins. Friends and family follow the coffin containing Cyril Collins as it heads towards Falmouth Cemetery Pic: Toby Weller Ref: TRTW20130403C-003_C

  • Funeral for 101 year old Cyril Collins. Friends and family follow the coffin containing Cyril Collins as it heads towards Falmouth Cemetery Pic: Toby Weller Ref: TRTW20130403C-002_C

  • Funeral for 101 year old Cyril Collins. Friends and family follow the coffin containing Cyril Collins as it heads towards Falmouth Cemetery Pic: Toby Weller Ref: TRTW20130403C-001_C

  • Friends and family follow the coffin of 101-year-old Cyril Collins as it is pulled on a Victorian wheeled bier towards Falmouth Cemetery.

  • Funeral for 101 year old Cyril Collins. Friends and family follow the coffin containing Cyril Collins as it heads towards Falmouth Cemetery Pic: Toby Weller Ref: TRTW20130403C-005_C

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IT WAS seen as a fitting memorial for a man who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and was passionate about the military.

The coffin of 101-year-old Cyril Collins of Falmouth went to its final resting place on a Victorian cart drawn by hand, giving a military feel to his funeral.

His family followed the carriage from his home in Boscawen Road to the nearby cemetery.

|Known as a wheeled bier, it is owned by Falmouth and Penryn Funeral Directors and this was the second time it had been used.

Proprietor Robin Hattswell-Burt said: "Distances can be difficult to use it, but this funeral was nice and local.

"The family asked if they could walk behind the hearse and so we suggested they use the bier. It was nice to see."

Historically each parish had a funeral bier, and this particular one came from Constantine and was restored by the funeral directors about four years ago.

Mr Collins had an early experience of combat, as his father took him and his brother to France at the end of the First World War for nine months.

His father was responsible for the transport of wounded soldiers and equipment from the battlefields.

When he was 17 Mr Collins got a job at Holloway Sanatorium, Surrey, where he worked as an accountant for most of his life. However, during the Second World War he served as a petty officer in the Royal Navy.

He was a radiographer, and during the D-Day landings in 1944 his ship went nine times to the beaches.

His daughter Pamela said: "He kept comprehensive diaries throughout his life and I'm in the process of putting it together for the family.

"The D-Day landings were hair-raising."

She added: "He was very passionate about the Royal British Legion and was a member of the Royal Naval Association and the carriage gave his funeral a slightly military feel."

Mr Collins was also interested in ancestry and traced his family back to 1550.

Another of his passions was languages and he spoke French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Norwegian.

However, the only foreign country he ever visited was France, and he drove because he would not fly.

Mr Collins was married to Eva and they lived in Surrey and then Tintagel until her death in the 1990s, when he moved in with his daughter Pamela in Falmouth. He had two other children, Valerie and Craig, and leaves six grandchildren, Natasha, Nicola, Stuart, Christopher, Andrew and Jacci, and two great-grandchildren, Claire and Ryan.

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