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NINE Chelsea pensioners die of coronavirus

NINE Chelsea pensioners die of coronavirus as 58 others survive their battles with Covid-19 at military home

  • Nine Chelsea pensioners have died of coronavirus at Chelsea Royal Hospital
  • Among the deaths was  Fred Boomer-Hawkins, 75, who became ill in March
  • The deaths were announced on the eve of commemorations to mark VE Day 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

They had served their country in some of the most dangerous places in the world – only to be taken in their old age by coronavirus.

Nine Chelsea Pensioners have been killed by the disease, it was confirmed last night.

The Royal Hospital’s governor, General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, told of his sadness at the deaths – announced on the eve of commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Among the Chelsea Pensioners who lost their lives to the virus was Fred Boomer-Hawkins, 75, above, who became ill in the last week of March

He said it was ‘a time of hope and reunion that feels particularly poignant’. 

A further 58 residents at the Royal Hospital Chelsea have recovered after testing positive for Covid-19 or showing symptoms.

There are 290 residents at the home for veterans. They include 47 who fought in the Second World War, plus soldiers who served in the Korean War, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. 

It welcomes Army veterans aged over 65 who have no living dependants and a welfare need such as financial hardship or bereavement. The average age of its residents is 82.

Mr Boomer-Hawkins is pictured above as a young man. Neighbours, servicemen and friends lined the streets of Colchester as his funeral procession went past their homes yesterday morning

Mr Boomer-Hawkins is pictured above as a young man. Neighbours, servicemen and friends lined the streets of Colchester as his funeral procession went past their homes yesterday morning

Sir Adrian added: ‘Most of our Pensioners have risked their lives serving our nation through war and conflict.’

Among the Chelsea Pensioners who lost their lives to the virus was Fred Boomer-Hawkins, 75, who became ill in the last week of March.

Neighbours, servicemen and friends lined the streets of Colchester as his funeral procession went past their homes yesterday morning. 

His son Terry Hawkins, 49, said Mr Boomer-Hawkins was ‘extremely proud’ to wear the red uniform of the Chelsea Pensioners after moving to the hospital in 2017. 

His son said: ‘He was a very popular man, loving, generous, honourable and loyal. He was everything you could want from a dad.’ 

Father-of-three Mr Boomer-Hawkins had joined the Army at 17. 

In his first posting, he served as a Royal Green Jacket, based in Colchester, Essex, where he met first wife, Jean.

His duties included spells in Malaysia, Germany and Northern Ireland. He was a UN peacekeeper in Cyprus. 

Mr Boomer-Hawkins’ son said that as his breathing worsened and he was moved to hospital, he sent a text reading: ‘Prepare yourself, I fear the worst now’. 

He added: ‘We were able to go in on that final day and the doctors told us he only had between two and eight hours left. We never thought it would come to that, it was heart-breaking.’

The Royal Hospital said an Army medical team has been helping to tackle the coronavirus threat and is able to test all those who show symptoms.

A further 58 residents at the Royal Hospital Chelsea have recovered after testing positive for Covid-19 or showing symptoms. There are 290 residents at the home for veterans

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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