Prince Philip: Duke's death a 'great loss' says bishop

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image captionFlags were flying at half-mast across Devon including at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where the duke and the Queen had their first publicised meeting in 1939

Church and civic leaders in Devon have led tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, who has died aged 99.

The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, said the duke's death was a "great loss to our nation", to the Queen and the Royal Family.

He said the duke "was great fun" and "full of stories".

The South West played a big part in the life of Prince Philip who accompanied the Queen on many visits to the region.

The bishop said: "He couldn't abide cant or hypocrisy, he cut right through it, and with Prince Philip you always knew exactly where you were and that's why I liked him so much."

Prince Philip was Captain General of the Royal Marines, whose training base is at Lympstone in Devon.

It was at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where he and the Queen had their first publicised meeting in 1939.

image captionThe Queen and Prince Philip returned to Dartmouth before her accession to the throne in 1952

Johnny Mercer, Plymouth Moor View Conservative MP, said Prince Philip was "the epitome of the Commando spirit", who was "fantastic with the troops, and served this nation courageously in his own right in WW2".

Plymouth-based ex-Marine Mark Ormrod, who lost three limbs in Afghanistan, paid tribute on Facebook: "RIP Boss."

Luke Pollard, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Labour MP, called the duke a "dedicated and extraordinary public servant", a "brave veteran of the Second World War and the Royal Navy" and through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, "gave so many young people opportunities to explore and expand their horizons".

image copyrightNorth Devon Yacht Club
image captionThe North Devon Yacht Club paid tribute to the duke, flying the Red Ensign at half-mast

Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon, said the duke was a "great man who contributed hugely to our country and our county".

He was also a "constant and loyal support" to the Queen "while demonstrating a genuine interest in people and with a wonderful sense of humour".

Flags were flying at half-mast at a number of places, including the North Devon Yacht Club, which the duke visited twice and the Royal Dart Yacht Club where the duke was its admiral.

An online book of condolence has been created in memory of the duke by Exeter Cathedral staff.

Reaction to death of Prince Philip

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