Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain Alan Tate 1925-2012; Obituary

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Captain Alan Tate 1925-2012; Obituary

Article excerpt

CAPTAIN Alan Tate was a war hero who played a key role in the development of the County Durham new towns Newton Aycliffe and Peterlee.

Mr Tate was born on February 25, 1925, in Sunderland, the only son of a shipyard worker, Samuel Tate, and an under-housemaid, Janet. He was educated at Bede Grammar School and then joined the Royal Marines in 1942.

A few days after the Normandy landings he joined 45 Commando as one of the replacements for the heavy casualties which the Royal Marines had suffered since D-Day.

He took part in the advance through France and Holland and later served in the Far East, returning by fast liner in 1946 in time to catch the first day of term at Durham University. There he read Architecture and was amongst the first group of eight graduates on a new course called "Town Planning".

He worked on the development of the new towns of Newton Aycliffe and Peterlee, and later in Edinburgh, before joining Bovis as director of recruitment. In 1957 he was invited to join the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, Canada, as its chief architect. There he lined the avenues with beds of tulips which have since become a tourist attraction.

He never forgot his northern roots or his love of England, however, and returned as a senior partner with Healey and Baker to head its planning department, before being headhunted by Costains. He also lectured at Cambridge, and was president of the Incorporated Society of Valuers, Surveyors and Auctioneers in 1989-90.

He frequently returned to the Dutch town of Linne, which 45 Commando had liberated . On the evening of January 27, 1945, Tate was an acting lieutenant and the leader of the nine-man E Troop of 45 Commando Royal Marines as it crossed the river Maas. Their objective was to hold a bridgehead on the opposite side of the fast-flowing river, while D Troop captured a German strongpoint on a hill above them. The hill was appropriately known as Belle Isle, after the island off Brittany, which the marines had captured in 1761 and from which they derive the laurels on their cap badge. …

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