Tank funeral for Cwmbran military history buff

First published in Pontypool news

A CWMBRAN military history buff was given a fitting tribute yesterday when he was carried to his funeral in a tank.

Campbell James Smith, 43, of the Tower, Cwmbran, died suddenly earlier in May.

His brother Mike Smith described him as a “well-liked, big-hearted character” who would help anyone out.

Mr Smith’s coffin was lifted into the tank – a FV 432 tracked and gunned armoured personnel carrier – at Newgale Row, Cwmbran, on Friday morning.

Six pallbearers including brothers Mike and Warren Smith travelled in the tank in a procession around the town which ended at Our Lady’s of the Angels Church, Old Cwmbran.

Police marshalled traffic as the vehicle negotiated the streets towards the church, where a service was led by Canon John Griffiths.

Mike Smith said before the funeral: “Campbell was a very well-liked, big-hearted character in the Cwmbran town centre area.

“He was very kind indeed and helped anyone out and would always stop and chat with you, young and old.”

Mr Smith said his brother had lots of hobbies, and said he had a passion for military history – in particular tanks.

He said that his father Clifford Smith “was in the Royal Engineers for many years, as a result we were all born in military hospitals.

“Campbell was born into an Army hospital and will go out in an army tank,” Mr Smith said, adding that the response to Campbell’s death had been “overwhelming”.

The tank itself was lent and driven by Alastair Scott of Tank School, Usk.

Mr Scott said the FV 432 is a British tank “similar to what is in use with the Army now”.

Following the service Mr Smith was interred at Llwyncelyn Cemetery.

An online page for people to make donations to Help For Herores – which Mr Smith regularly donated to – has been opened by Mr Smith’s family in Campbell’s memory.

Visit bmycharity.com/CampbellJamesSmith to make a donation.

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