Aged 97, this was the death of one of Britain’s last D-Day vets.

After landing at Sword Beach, Normandy, on June 6, 1944, Alan King (radio operator) fought his way through France, Holland, and Germany.

In 2016, he became a media sensation after being reunited to a Dutch girl whose life he had saved from a war when she was only four years old.

In recent years, he has become a well-known figure at European and UK reunions for the shrinking number of Second World War veterans.

Mr King’s wartime memories were highlighted by the Royal Mint in 2019 in its publicity material for the launch of a £2 coin to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Alan King, a radio operator in a Sherman tank, battled his way across France, Holland and Germany after landing on Sword Beach in Normandy on June 6, 1944

After landing at Sword Beach, Normandy, June 6th 1944, Alan King (radio operator) fought his way through France, Holland, and Germany.

He made headlines in 2016 after he was reunited with Dutch woman Toos Kockan whose life he had saved during a battle when she was just four years old (pictured together)

In 2016, he made news when he was reunited to Toos Kockan, a Dutch woman whose life he saved in a battle that took place at four years old. (pictured together).

He replied, “We weren’t heroes. We were terrified. You had your regiment, your crew, and you were afraid.

“Our life expectancy was only one hour after landing, so we continued to keep each other going. For the 40 first years after I returned, I did not think about it.

It was not something you wanted to do. It’s vital that everyone knows about this. People don’t understand what happened.

D-Day Landings: This was the moment that changed WWII forever.

Operation Overlord is also known as the Normandy Landings. These were landing operations that took place during the Allied invasion in Normandy.

About 156,000 Allied troops landed at Normandy in June 1944.

Two phases were used in the assault: an aerial assault landing of 24,000 British and American airborne troops just after midnight and then an amphibious landing on France’s coast of Allied infantry, armoured and other divisions at 6.30 AM.

It was the world’s largest amphibious invasion, with more than 160,000 troops arriving on 6 June 1944. In addition, 195.700 Allied navy and merchant Navy personnel and over 5,000 vessels were part of this operation.

The Normandy coast was 50 miles (80 km) long and the landings occurred in five segments: Utah; Omaha; Gold; Juno; Sword.

There was chaos at landings, as boats arrived at the wrong place and some others got into trouble in the water.

Troops only managed to get a foothold at the beach, but in the following days they grew on that initial success and opened a port at Omaha.

These forces met with strong resistance at the German strongpoints on the coast.

Nearly 10,000 allies were wounded or killed. There were 6,603 American soldiers who were both fatally shot, 2,499 British soldiers who were taken to the grave, 2,700 Canadian soldiers (of which 299 died), and 1,074 Canadians. Of these, 359 were fatal.

There were between 4,000 to 9,000 German troops killed. This proved pivotal in the war against the Allies.

It was necessary to transport soldiers and other material from the United Kingdom via troop-laden aircraft, ships and air support.

Following a brief illness in his Thornham Magna home, near Eye, Suffolk on Thursday, Mr King passed away.

Joyce Cooper, Joyce’s daughter said of him: “He had an unusual sense for humor. He kept everyone entertained on veteran trips. Rest in peace dear dad, forever missed.’

According to Mrs Cooper, her father is known as Mr Never Surrender because of his age and love for impersonating Sir Winston Churchill.

He was part of the 27th Armoured Brigade, East Riding Yeomanry during D-Day. His tank was able to dodge mortar fire and provide vital cover for infantry soldiers.

The Battle of Cambes was three days after Mr King’s participation, as well as Operation Charnwood (and Operation Goodwood) to free Normandy.

He advanced through northern France and joined the 33rd Armoured Brigade in Holland. There he participated in the liberation s-Hertogenbosch, October 1944.

He saved the life of Toos Kockan and Toos Kockan’s four-year-old daughters Toos Kockan during a tank fight in the Dutch city.

The narrow gap between his tank and Mr King revealed that another Sherman of 30 tons was unwittingly turning towards them. King radioed an alert to the Sherman to “Halt”.

In 2016, Ms. Kockan was a 76 year-old mother of two. He was reunited and he went back to visit her in her hometown twice more.

Ms Kockan, her sister and their father were captured huddled next to a Sherman tank of Mr King’s squadron on the city’s market square while the battle raged.

The family managed to escape to safety during three days of fighting that saw 253 civilians killed, 2100 injured and 722 buildings destroyed.

He recalled meeting Ms Kockan 72 year later and said that Toos was grateful for the opportunity to meet him. She almost choked me.

He continued, “It’s great to see her after all the years. And it’s very emotionally for us.”

Monique Hekman was the protocol officer for General of Royal Netherlands Army and acted as translator. It was wonderful.

“She made every effort to make him feel comfortable. Toos gave Alan boschebol, an extremely rare dessert made with cream and chocolate, as a gift. He loved it.

“It was quite overwhelming, in fact.

The Dutch government invited Mr King to Holland to commemorate the 72nd anniversary the Battle of Arnhem. This event was immortalised in the movie A Bridge Too Far.

Mr King was invited to Holland by the Dutch government to mark the 72nd anniversary of the battle of Arnhem, immortalised in the film A Bridge Too Far

The Dutch government invited Mr. King to Holland to commemorate the 72nd Anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem. This film, A Bridge Too Far, was immortalised by Mr. King.

A wartime picture showing Toos Kochan and her sister with their father sheltering behind a tank in 1944 after Toos and her mother were saved by Mr King

This wartime photo shows Toos Kochan with her sister and father, hiding behind tanks in 1944. Toos and his mother were saved from Mr King.

When he recalled the time he spent working for Operation Market Garden, his words were: “It was really a bridge to far.”

Two years later, the war was over, he quit the army to become an engineer in Norfolk.

Mr King was awarded France’s highest honour, the iconic Légion d’Honneur, in May 2016 for helping to liberate the country from Nazi rule.

He was the president of Stradbroke as well as the District Branch of Royal British Legion.

At an event marking the 77th Anniversary of D-Day, held at Staffordshire’s National Memorial Arboretum this year, Mr King was able to meet the family of Cpl Louis Wilkes (his tank commander) at their home.

Following his capture, Sonia Bailey (his former Corporal) and Kevin Wilkes (his grandchildren), he placed a wreath.