Northampton war veteran George Verden who played crucial role in D-Day operations dies aged 94
A Northampton World War Two veteran who fought on D-Day and waited 73 years to receive the medals he deserved has died.
George Verden passed away peacefully at Cliftonville Care Home on October 29. He was 96.
Warrant Officer George Verden, then aged 21, and his squadron took part in a crucial series of bombing runs in the dark hours before the first D-Day lands in Normandy.
Remarkably, George was trying to leave the base at RAF Guildford so he could go see his wife Doreen for her birthday - only to be stopped at the gate by a guard or told him he had a job to do first.
It meant George had to fight in the vital D-Day operation before he was allowed home to see his wife on leave.
The attacks on Pegasus Bridge on the night of June 5 played a vital role in the efforts of the allied forces to secure the Caen Canal following the attack on Sword Beach.
But in George's words, the mission was just a job that needed to be done. He told the Chron in June: "People say how brave we all must have been. Bravery never came into it. We weren't brave men - we were proud men who made our own luck who did the job we were told to do.
"Sometimes we came home with bullet holes in the kite [plane]. On the worst occasion, a flak shell exploded underneath us and lifted us all into the air. Thankfully, no one was hurt. When the ground crew saw the damage they couldn't believe any of us had made it back alive."
George flew 94 missions in his RAF career - and, in 2017, discovered a slip of paper in his old mess kit that proved he was entitled to the 1939/45 Star and the Air Crew Europe Star, which meant he could claim his medal after over 70 years.
The discovery also proved Geroge was entitled to the Legion d'Honneur - France's highest military award.
At his upcoming funeral, George will have the union flag and his Legion d'Honneur draped over his coffin as part of this burial service.
He is survived by his three sons Fred, Peter and Phillip.
Phillip Verden said: "We're all so proud of him. He did his part for king and country. In the early years he never spoke about his time in WWII and only really began to talk about it in his later years."