One of Britain’s last surviving D-Day veterans dies aged 100: Soldier who took part in heroic invasion of Normandy during World War Two passes away, his family reveal
- Joe Cattini was on the beaches of northern France as part of an invasion force
Joe Cattini, one of Britain’s last surviving D-Day veterans, who took part in the heroic invasion of Normandy during World War Two, has died at the age of 100.
His granddaughter Sarah Burr announced in a statement that her ‘beloved granddad’ passed away on the evening of Tuesday 18 April.
She wrote: ‘A life so well lived. One of the last D-Day veterans left. We are so proud of him and loved him so much. The past nine years since D-Day 70 were some of the happiest of his life.
‘From (like most of his generation) never having really talked about his war experiences to sharing them with so many others in recent years was so important to him.’
It is understood that around half a dozen British veterans are still living today who fought on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Mr Cattini was just 21 at the time.
Joe Cattini, one of Britain’s last surviving D-Day veterans, who took part in the heroic invasion of Normandy during World War Two, has died at the age of 100 (pictured in November last year)
It is understood that around half a dozen British veterans are still living today who fought on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Mr Cattini was just 21 at the time (pictured at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for the 77th anniversary of the Normandy Landings on June 6, 2021)
Around 10,000 servicemen, including 2,700 British soldiers, 946 Canadians and 6,600 US soldiers died in the Normandy landings.
The invasion force led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation, the Spirit of Normandy Trust says.
Mr Cattini, drove up Gold Beach on D-Day in a three-ton ammunition truck loaded with 25lb shells and dozens of cans of petrol.
The great-grandfather, from Southampton, spent five days in hospital with Covid in August 2021.
After learning why he was feeling ill, such is his indomitable spirit that he told his daughter Fran Bradshaw: ‘Thank goodness I’m not getting old – it’s only Covid.’
The British Normandy Memorial was officially opened on June 6, 2021 – 77 years to the day after D-Day – but was only visited by the old soldiers and sailors in October of that year because of travel restrictions.
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.’
Speaking to the BBC in June 2019 to celebrate the 70th anniversary, Mr Cattini described the horrific scene he witnessed.
‘I landed here on D-Day at 10am and the beach was littered with dead, wounded, prisoners of war and also destroyed vehicles and craft,’ he said.
‘There were things floating in the water that you don’t want to remember. Now it’s so peaceful and tranquil that you feel more at ease.’
Mr Cattini became a centenarian on January 17, 2023 and he received a birthday card from The King.
Born Alberto Giuseppe Antonio Cattini, ‘Joe’ was the eldest of four boys and grew up in Hampstead, north London.
The British Normandy Memorial wrote about his upbringing and noted that he served for five years from 1941 onwards.
He was a Bombardier in the 86th Field Regiment RA of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry when he landed on Gold Beach on D-Day.
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