Born on 21 June 1924, WWII veteran Robert ‘Robbie’ Larnach from Lybster near Caithness in Scotland died on 26 February 2023 aged 98.
One of seven brothers he was conscripted in 1942 and served with the 25th Field Regiment Royal Artillery. He landed on Sword beach on D Day +15 on his 20th birthday and moved through France, Belgium, Holland and into Germany eventually meeting up with the Russians at Wismar. After the war in Europe ended, Robbie was sent home on three weeks leave, before boarding a ship for Malaysia, which, when the Atomic Bomb was dropped, was diverted to Java where he spent a year and a half before being demobilised in 1947.
Robbie married on 9 April 1943 during his first leave. They had a daughter June who died in 1985, a son Noel, a second daughter Valerie and a second son Magnus.
After the war Robbie worked in civil engineering and retired as a general foreman. In the 1950’s he enjoyed playing football with his six brothers Stanley, David, Sandy, Bill, Eric and Jim for Lybster Portland FC where his father Magnus was a club official.
Noel Larnach, Robbie’s son, said “Dad will be sadly missed by all who knew him. He was the oldest resident of the small village he lived in and the last surviving member of his generation. Last year Dad and I were delighted to travel to the Netherlands with the Taxi Charity and he so enjoyed being on a golf buggy with other WWII veterans as part of the Dutch Liberation parade through Wageningen. We also went on their trip to the D Day commemorations in Normandy, so that Dad could participate in the remembrance services for those who were not as fortunate as him and did not come home. Dad also went with the charity to Arnhem for Market Garden in September and to the National Memorial Arboretum for the opening of the Desert Rats Memorial and they arranged his travel in London to the Cenotaph in November.”
Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “The Taxi Charity was always delighted to take Robbie and his son Noel on our trips of commemoration and we are delighted that Noel has asked if he can join us, in this our 75th anniversary year, when we take veterans back to the Netherlands and Normandy. Our volunteer drivers and supporters will greatly miss Robbie and we send our sincere condolences to his family.”
To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate visit www.taxicharity.org
An interview with Robert Larnarch recorded in 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49zVRPJtq48
About the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans since 1948. It is the only Forces charity that focuses on providing fun and entertainment and arranges free trips (for veterans from all conflicts) to the Netherlands and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or social events across the UK.
2023 is the charity’s 75th anniversary, a remarkable milestone for a small, niche charity peopled by enthusiastic volunteers.
The charity received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021, an award approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the equivalent of the MBE for charities.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship and launched a ‘75 for 75’ fundraising campaign to raise £75,000 in its anniversary year.