Mr Aylott with his Legion d'Honneur medal

'Lovely' D-Day Veteran Dies Aged 97

Mr Aylott with his Legion d'Honneur medal

A D-Day veteran described as a "devoted family man" has died aged 97.

Ernest 'Ernie' Aylott, from Blandford, Dorset, landed on Sword Beach with 15 Parachute Regiment on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

He then moved east to Arnhem in the Netherlands, supporting Allied forces battling a retreating German military. 

Despite his service during the Second World War, Mr Aylott did not receive a number of medals he was entitled to, including the Legion d'Honneur – France's highest honour.

This led to his family contacting SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, to obtain them on his behalf.

Mr Aylott received all of the medals and had his Parachute Regiment beret and badge, which he lost in Normandy, replaced.

Nicholas Bate from SSAFA, who contacted the Ministry of Defence on Mr Aylott's behalf and presented him with the Legion d'Honneur at his home last year, said: "Ernie had a fantastic war record and it was a privilege for us to be able to help him obtain his well-earned campaign medals and Legion d'Honneur.

"Ernie was a lovely man with an excellent sense of humour and strong values, and he was very proud of his service in the Second World War.

A view from the air of Sword Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944
A view from the air of Sword Beach on D-Day, 6 June 1944 (Picture: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo).

"He was a devoted family man and greatly loved by his wife Joan and sons Russel and Glen."

Mr Aylott was born in 1923 in Clapham, south London.

He enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps in 1942, before transferring to the Parachute Regiment. 

After landing on Sword Beach on D-Day, he drove lorries loaded with ammunition to supply the frontline.

He continued to advance through France until the end of the war, even surviving an attack from a German Messerschmitt aircraft. 

Mr Aylott was demobbed in 1946 and moved back to south London.

He was involved in the building trade, working on houses bombed during the Blitz, before becoming an attendant and chauffeur at the Tate Gallery in central London.

The veteran met his wife Joan in 1947, they had two sons together before retiring to Dorset.

Cover image: Mr Aylott with his Legion d'Honneur medal (Picture: SSAFA).

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