One of Britain’s last surviving D-Day heroes is laid to rest: Coffin of World War Two veteran who passed away aged 100 is carried into church as family mourn death of soldier who stormed Normandy beaches
- Joe Cattini, from Southampton, took part in Normandy landings on June 6, 1944
The emotional funeral of one of Britain’s last surviving D-Day veterans has taken place after he died last month aged 100.
Joe Cattini, from Southampton, took part in one of the first waves of the Normandy landings in June 1944, an operation which turned the tide of the Second World War.
Aged 21, Mr Cattini drove up Gold Beach in a three-ton ammunition truck that was loaded with 25lb shells and dozens of cans of petrol.
The great-grandfather was believed to have been one of only around half a dozen surviving British veterans from the Normandy campaign.
At his funeral today in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Mr Cattini’s coffin, draped in the flag of his Royal Artillery regiment, was pictured being carried into St Edmund’s Church.
As well as relatives and friends, BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell was also among the mourners.
Around 10,000 servicemen, including 2,700 British soldiers, 946 Canadians and 6,600 US soldiers died in the Allied landings.
The invasion force led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation.
The great-grandfather, from Southampton, spent five days in hospital with coronavirus in August 2021.
After learning why he was feeling ill, he told his daughter Fran Bradshaw: ‘Thank goodness I’m not getting old – it’s only Covid.’
Mr Cattini was among the veterans who visited the British Normandy Memorial in October 2021, after it was opened on June 6 that year – 77 years to the day after D-Day.
Their visit was delayed because of travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Mr Cattini said at the time: ‘I’m very excited to see the memorial. I felt very sorry for the young infantry who landed on the beaches on D-Day.
‘I think of the ones that didn’t come back – they are the heroes, the ones that gave their lives. I don’t class myself as a hero – I was lucky, I had a good guardian angel who saw me through the war.’