Coronavirus: D-Day veteran Harold Pearsall dies, aged 97

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image captionHarold Pearsall died in hospital on Sunday, aged 97

A D-Day veteran awarded France's highest military honour has died after contracting coronavirus.

Harold Pearsall, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, died on Sunday aged 97.

Peter Lloyd, of the 1944 Alliance Normandy-Market Garden veterans' association, said his friend tested positive for Covid-19 while at hospital in Birmingham on Friday.

Mr Pearsall, who took part in the Allies' assault on Caen in 1944, received the Légion d'Honneur in 2015.

In 2005, he told the BBC's World War II memories project, he remembered being ambushed by phosphorous bombs and grenades, as his unit suffered heavy losses.

image copyrightTNT News
image captionHarold Pearsall was involved in many events to commemorate World War II

Mr Lloyd, the association's secretary said: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of our dear friend and brother veteran Chevalier Harold Pearsall la Légion d'Honneur.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with Harold's family and friends."

Mr Pearsall, who was previously in hospital with a broken hip, was admitted to Good Hope Hospital, Birmingham, last week.

He "was isolated" after testing positive for the virus and could not have visitors, Mr Lloyd said.

Before ill health, he was a "very active" member of the Birmingham association and went on regular trips to Normandy and the Netherlands.

Mr Pearsall, a widower with two sons, enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships, Mr Lloyd said.

"He was very proud and always clean, smart and tidy", he said.

He marked last year's 75th anniversary of D-Day at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, with hundreds of veterans.

At the event he talked about his military service to Prince William who he later described as "a very nice fella".

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