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Death of farmer and soldier

PUBLISHED: 16:02 07 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:12 07 July 2010

THE funeral service will take place at Little Fransham on Monday of military historian, soldier and farmer Col John Boag.

Col Boag, who was 99, had a long and distinguished record of public service as a magistrate and in local government across Norfolk.

THE funeral service will take place at Little Fransham on Monday of military historian, soldier and farmer Col John Boag.

Col Boag, who was 99, had a long and distinguished record of public service as a magistrate and in local government across Norfolk.

He commanded the Norfolk Yeomanry and fought in North Africa, where he was awarded the Military Cross for his action in the western desert and the Tobruk campaign of the second world war.

Col Boag edited the book, The Norfolk Yeomanry in Peace and War, written by Jeremy Bastin and published in 1985. And he devoted decades to collecting memorabilia of his former regiment. When it was re-established in 1947, he started the collection, which covers more than 200 years of the regiment's history. It was loaned in July 1991 to the Muckleburgh Collection at Weybourne for public display.

Col Boag was born in London but moved to Norfolk in 1933 to farm at Little Fransham. In 1936, he joined the Norfolk Yeomanry because he felt that war was imminent.

He saw service in France, was an evacuee at Dunkirk and was sent with the regiment to Africa, link-ing with the 1st Army and taking part in the final assault on Tunis.

His association with the yeo-manry was temporarily severed when he returned to England to

21 Army Group but he rejoined in 1944. It was demobilised after the war, like other units in the Territorial Army.

The regiment was reborn in 1947, and the lieutenant-colonel served until 1956 after completing two tours of duty as commanding officer. At his retirement, the regiment's honorary colonel, Sir Edmund Bacon, said Col Boag held field rank for 17 of his 20 years of service with the yeomanry, which must be a record.

He had been made an OBE in the 1952 Queen's birthday honours and then in 1961 became a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk.

He was also responsible for forming the Norfolk Yeomanry Old Comrades' Association.

Outside the TA, he was a magistrate who retired as chairman of the Swaffham Bench in 1976 after 27 years as a JP, 25 of them as chairman.

Col Boag was one of the architects of reorganisations of the courts sitting in Norfolk, which reduced the number by half. He also piloted the scheme for combining juvenile court panels. His contribution to the work of the probation service over many years was recognised when a bail hostel in Norwich was given his name.

He leaves three children, David, Susan and Ian, two grand-daughters, Caroline and Alistair, and two great-granddaughters.

The funeral at St Mary's Church will start at 12.30pm.

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