Hundreds attend the funeral of Harry Billinge, the D-Day veteran who wouldn’t let the dead be forgotten

A D-Day veteran said the war in Ukraine brought back ‘mental scars’ from the Normandy invasion, a BBC reporter told his funeral.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Cornish town on Tuesday to pay their respects to Harry Billinge, the D-Day veteran who died earlier this month at the age of 96.

He was 18 when he was one of the first British soldiers to land at Gold Beach during the Normandy invasion in 1944.

Sapper, he was attached to 44 Royal Engineer Commandos and was one of only four survivors of his unit.

He was honored by a funeral procession which passed the war memorial cross in front of Holy Trinity Church in his hometown of St Austell, and an honor guard, which included standard bearers, and a Requiem Mass at St Pauls Church in nearby Charlestown.

Mr Billinge was appointed MBE in 2020 after raising more than £50,000 to build a national memorial to honor his fallen comrades – the 22,442 servicemen killed on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

The year before, he had told reporters, “I’m not a hero, I’m lucky. All the heroes are dead and I will never forget them.

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