Alan Conquest, MBE, president of his Royal British Legion (RBL) branch, said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, standard bearers were told to pay their respects in their gardens on Saturday when the duke’s funeral was held.
But Mr Conquest, 83, decided he would lower the flag in full uniform at a war memorial and has been hailed a “credit to his town” for doing so.
Speaking to Cornwall Live, he said: “It seemed a more civil place for a man who served in the Second World War. So I thought I would take it one step further – I’ve been like that my whole life. I must admit there was a tear in my eye.
“It’s such a shame he (Prince Philip) didn’t make it to 100. I would have opened a champagne bottle and toast him.”
The pensioner said that nobody told him he couldn’t attend the war memorial, so he went ahead and did it.
He also said his fellow RBL members approved of his slightly rebellious actions. He said: “It was no surprise to them. They all know me, I’m that mad old man down the road.”
Mr Conquest, of Hayle, Cornwall, spent eight years in the Royal Air Force in the airfield construction branch.
He and his wife were appointed MBEs for nearly 30 years of welfare work for the RBL and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), another Armed Forces charity.
Mr Conquest has thanked Jackie Marie, the woman who shared the picture on social media of him paying his respects at the war memorial.
He said: “She did me a great favour and helped to show that the RBL is still alive and kicking.”
He also commented on her Facebook post: “I was only doing my duty. The RBL said do it in the garden. I preferred the memorial.”
Many Facebook users praised the man for his defiance.
“Alan Conquest, MBE, another great tribute you have paid sir. Such a credit to the town of Hayle,” reads one comment.
“Such a wonderful tribute, respects sir. Would you mind if I share this very touching photo,” another says.
“Well done Alan. I’m sure Prince Philip would have approved. We all did,” a third reads.
And one man posted: “We saw him and thought exactly the same thing. What a true gentleman. This country could do with more real men like this.”
Another shared: “He is a lovely man and never lets Hayle down on occasions such as this.”