The coffin of 96-year-old Second World War serviceman and Royal British Legion fundraiser Harry Billinge is carried out of St Paul's Church, Cornwall (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).
Veterans

Guard of honour and standard bearers attend D-Day veteran Harry Billinge's funeral

Harry Billinge, one of the first British soldiers to land on Gold Beach in 1944, died earlier this month, aged 96.

The coffin of 96-year-old Second World War serviceman and Royal British Legion fundraiser Harry Billinge is carried out of St Paul's Church, Cornwall (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

Family, friends, and fellow veterans have gathered to pay their respects to D-Day veteran Harry Billinge, at a funeral in his hometown in Cornwall.

Mr Billinge was just 18 when he became one of the first British soldiers to land on Gold Beach in June 1944.

At his funeral, a guard of honour lined the street outside St Paul’s Church in Charlestown, with standard bearers also in attendance.

Watch: Harry Billinge dedicated his MBE in 2020 to his colleagues who died on D-Day.

Mr Billinge was a sapper attached to the 44 Royal Engineer Commandos.

He was one of only four survivors from his unit, going on to fight in Caen and the Falaise pocket in Normandy.

The former Royal Engineer was awarded an MBE after collecting more than £50,000 towards a memorial for the 22,442 service personnel killed on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy.

IMAGE ID 2CHG5T3 Harry Billinge is made an MBE by the Queen 030320 CREDIT PA Images, Alamy Stock Photo
Harry Billinge was awarded his MBE by the Queen in March 2020 (Picture: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo).

His hour-long funeral service was led by The Revd Canon Malcolm Bowers, and included a eulogy from journalist Nicholas Witchell.

Singer and TV presenter Aled Jones sang the hymn 'Let There Be Peace On Earth' and, on the eve of the service, Margot Billinge, one of Mr Billinge's daughters, spoke of her pride in her father's life.

"Harry was a very loving husband who always looked after mum," she said.

"He was steadfast in his love for her.

“As a dad, he taught us great values: honesty, kindness, generosity and not to judge.

“Dad was always there to guide us. He was always a very charitable man and collected for the Poppy Appeal for over 65 years."