Mr John Graham Hopetoun Verey
A MAN whose family business went on to become part of Wight Salads, has died at a care home, in Newport, aged 95.
John Graham Hopetoun Verey was born in London and educated at Blundells School, Tiverton, and Exeter College, Oxford.
War interrupted his studies in 1939, when he transferred from an army commission in the Royal Fusiliers to the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and Combined Operations as a specially selected rating.
After Greenwich Naval College and escorting Atlantic convoys on the USS Georgetown, he was appointed commanding officer of his tank landing craft, aged 23.
On D-Day, his craft took part in the initial assault on Gold Beach, as part of the Normandy Landings. Despite losing both anchors, the landing craft served with distinction, surviving a 36-hour storm off the Normandy coast, later making trips across English Channel, including delivery of the PLUTO pipes.
After war service, Mr Verey emigrated to New Zealand and worked for its forestry service on North Island as a chief technical officer.
He met a young artist and teacher, Noeline, his wife until she died in 1999. The family returned to England for a career in the Forestry Commission and lived on the mainland until 1968, when Mr Verey started his own glasshouse tomato nursery at Budbridge Manor, near Merstone.
He was among the first to grow early-season crops and his business expanded, despite two oil crises and financial pressures. The business became the co-owner of Wight Salads, which the family subsequently sold.
On the day before he died, he was awarded Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur for his exploits at Normandy.
Mr Verey’s funeral took place at St George’s Church, Arreton. He leaves three sons and their families.