World War II hero makes his final journey back home to Lisburn

World War II veteran Stanley Liggins made his final journey back home to Lisburn last week when his family brought his ashes from England to be interred with his late wife at Blaris cemetery.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 10:15 am

Born in Belfast with a sister and a brother, Stanley signed up to serve in the British army when he was just 15 years of age.

His granddaughter Catherine Davenport explained: “At 15 years old in 1942 he wanted to join the army so he falsified his date of birth to make himself 16 years old so he could join up.

“He joined the Royal Enniskillen Fusiliers and toured Gibraltar, Egypt, Cyprus, Malta and the Caribbean.”

Stanley Liggins

During his years of service Stanley made his way up the ranks to Sergeant and even after returning to civilian life the armed forces remained in his blood.

“After returning to civilian life he ran the officers mess at Thievpal barracks in Lisburn, ” continued Catherine.

During his army life he married and had four children - two daughters and two sons, Olga, Eva, Freddie and Eric but this marriage ended in divorce.

He then met Elizabeth (Lil) McAleavey, who also worked in Thievpal Barrack. The couple dated and Stanely went on to work for the Royal Mail,

Stanley and Lil married and he gained three step children - Maurice, John and Kathleen.

In 1976 Stenaly got a transfer in the Post Office to Huddersfield in England where his brother and sister lived. He eventually retired from the post office through health/a back injury.

Stanley’s military legacy lives on in his great grandson Mason, who currently serves in the RAF. “He would often tease my son Mason, his great grandson who is in the RAF, about gaining his three stripes and had he gotten them yet,” said Catherine. “He was proud that he had followed his footsteps and joined the military.”

Sadly Lil died in 2008 and Stanley lived by himself with help from family until he passed away on December 31, 2021.

Both Stanley and Lil wished to be buried together in Blaris so the family brought his ashes back to Lisburn on Friday July 30 so a short service.

Members of the Royal British Legion in Lisburn were honoured to take part in the service, with a colour party and standard bearer present. The Legion members carried out a poppy drop to honour Stanley’s years of service in the army and the Last Post was played at the grave side by local bandsman Jim Boyd.

The Chairman of the Lisburn branch of the Royal British Legion said they were honoured to be involved in the service and paid tribute to the veteran who had served his country with distinction.

“Branch Officers and Members from the Lisburn Branch of The Royal British Legion were honored to be able to pay their full respects to this WW2 veteran and pass on our deepest sympathy to Stanley’s wider family circle,” said Mr Sloan.

“A last post was sounded and the Branch Standard was dipped with a two minute silence being observed and a poppy drop being carried out at the end of the service.”