Minster war veteran Robert Heath dies just weeks before 99th birthday

Robert Heath pictured with wife Gwen

Minster veteran Robert Heath passed away on December 12, just four weeks before his 99th birthday.

The World War Two veteran, who was one of the last surviving Desert Rats, was a Minster village stalwart along with Gwen, his wife of 77 years.

A family statement says: “The passing of Robert Charles Edmund Heath, of Minster, on Thursday, December 12, just four weeks shy of his 99th birthday, while expected, was a great loss none the less.

“The demise of Robert (never Bob, or Bobby), has left a huge void in wife Gwendolen’s heart and has taken a piece of each of his children, Jacqueline and Martyn.

Robert and grandson Marlowe

“The loss of his humour and gentle ways will be felt by the three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and all five of the assorted spouses.

“But more than the obvious loss to family, and of course to people who knew and liked Robert, his passing is a collective loss to all who love freedom. Robert Heath was a WWII veteran, having served four and a half years in the north African Western Desert Campaign in Egypt and Palenstine, including some time in Italy. He was one of the last of the Desert Rats.

“Robert’s service will be at Margate Crematorium on Wednesday, January 8 at 2:30pm.

“Friends are invited; no flowers please – instead a donation to  Pilgrims Hospice will be greatly appreciated.

“Robert will be cremated, later to be joined by his loving wife of 77 years, Gwendolen, whence they will laugh and love each other, together once again, for eternity.”