WAR hero John Cornwell who was the youngest survivor of D-Day Normandy landings at the age of 15 has been laid to rest.
Soldiers paid a touching tribute to the Second World War hero in a moving funeral that took place in St Mary’s Church in Prestbury.
Six soldiers carried his coffin[/caption]
John Cornwell was the youngest survivor of the D-Day landings[/caption]
Mr Cornwell who took part in the Allies’ invasion of German-occupied France during the Second World War, died at the age of 94 on May 19
John, of Cheltenham., Glos, enlisted in 1942, aged just 15 and a half.
Less than two years later he was fighting his way up the beach on his way to the town of Bayeux as part of the Glosters’ 2nd Battalion, 56th Infantry Brigade.
His coffin was carried by six serving soldiers, according to his final wish.
The members of Chepstow-based 1 RIFLES will act as pallbearers.
Roy Roberts, a retired RAF wing commander and chairman of the Royal British Legion in Cheltenham, told Gloucestershire Live: “John was a long-time member of the Royal British Legion and a poppy seller.
“His earnest wish expressed to me and his family, was that ‘soldiers carry me into church when it’s my time’.”
Back in 2019, Mr Cornwell spoke to the outlet about his experience ahead of a visit to Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-day.
“It was something we had been training on for months, but when we came up behind the Hampshires, we saw they were taking a beating with many, many casualties,” he said.
“It was a horrible sight. We ended up having to move three miles up the beach to the King Red sector where, when it was my turn, I jumped into three feet of water, struggling to hold on to my gun and pack.
“The water was freezing and the noise all around was terrible. We did manage to get ashore and moved on to Bayeux, but too late to take it by midnight.
“The following morning we were able to take the town.
“I always go to the headstones of the other young lads, the 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, who did not come out alive.
“There were no John Waynes on that day, we were all young men, many of us scared and a long way from home.
“I’m forever grateful I came out alive to tell the story.”
D-Day is the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II on June 6, 1944.
The Allied Forces of Britain, America, Canada, and France attacked German forces on the coast of Normandy, France and gained the most significant victory in the Second World War.
Over 150,000 troops had landed in Normandy – with 4,413 dying on D-Day alone.
The attack, known as Operation Overlord, included a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.
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The landings were followed by the 76 day Battle of Normandy, with a total of 210,000 Allied casualties including American, British and Canadian.
Earlier this week Prince Charles paid a tribute to the heroes, marking the 77 years since D-Day.
He said via video-link: “May God bless our veterans, the families and all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”