A HIGHLY-DECORATED war hero from Powick died after his car rolled over him, an inquest has heard.
Retired Lieutenant Donald Taylor, who was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and a number of campaign medals for his service with the Royal Navy during the Second World War, was found trapped underneath his Vauxhall Astra at the junction of Old Malvern Road and the Drive near his home in the village on Wednesday, October 2.
He was taken to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he died just after midnight the next day.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest into his death at Stourport Coroners Court yesterday, where senior coroner Geraint Williams said the circumstances leading to the 93-year-old’s death were not clear, because there were no witnesses to the accident.
A report by police investigators said it seemed likely that he had left his car in gear and with the handbrake off while he got out to post a letter and was pulled underneath when he tried to stop it from rolling towards him Addressing his family at yesterday’s inquest, Mr Williams paid tribute to Mr Taylor, describing him as “a brilliant man”.
“This is quite a man – you know that,” he said.
“It’s rare for a coroner to conduct an inquest for a man as remarkable as your father.
“I know there is nothing I can say that will make this loss any easier to bear.”
Mr Taylor was born in Portsmouth in 1920 and joined the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.
Joining the air squadron in 1940, he flew Seafires – the Navy’s equivalent to the Spitfire – and saw action across the world including in Norway, Egypt and in bombing raids on Japanese oil refineries in Sumatra towards the end of the conflict.
After the war he became a civil servant and married his wife Sylvia in 1948. The two were married for 52 years until her death in the year 2000.
His son Alan said: “He was very independent and very active and that is the sadness of his death.
“I know he’d been shopping in Malvern when he stopped the car and the tragic accident happened.”
He said his father had spent his later years enjoying a wide range of hobbies including gardening and woodcarving, and was an accomplished water colourist.
“He had a huge fascination for naval history, both recent and very deep history and made some very detailed models of ships,” he said.
“That was what kept him going.”
As well as the Distinguished Service Cross, Mr Taylor was also awarded several campaign medals and last year received the Arctic Medal, which was issued to Navy veterans who took part in gruelling Arctic convoys.