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D-Day veteran Cyril Haworth dies aged 90
York Normandy Veterans’ Association chairman Cyril Haworth adjusting a wreath he laid after the rededication of its memorial last year
THE chairman of the York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association has died after a short illness at the age of 90.
Cyril Haworth, of Tollerton, near Easingwold, who landed on Gold Beach on the morning of D-Day in 1944, had been hoping to return to Normandy next year with fellow branch members for the 70th anniversary of the landings.
His funeral will take place at 3pm next Thursday at York Cemetery Chapel, when the Union Flag, his beret and medals will be placed on his coffin and fellow veterans will be in attendance carrying two standards.
Donations for the Veterans Association will be gratefully received, say family members.
Mr Haworth leaves a widow, Margaret. The couple, who had two children and five grandchildren, had hoped to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary later this year.
Mr Haworth had told The Press previously of his dramatic experiences during and after D-Day, and also spoken of the veterans’ moving pilgrimages back to the battlefields.
He said that when he landed on Gold Beach, he had been “cold, wet and scared but awfully glad to get off our landing crafts, on which we had been deployed for a number of days in horrendous weather”.
He said: “That was the day when boys became men and we all had the utmost pride to be there.
“Within a unit – a regiment of 25-pounder field guns in my case – a special relationship arose.
“We were no longer just a group of men serving in a unit but we grew into what has been aptly called in a film: Band Of Brothers.”
The association veterans have made numerous pilgrimages back to the battlefield areas over the years, including a visit to Belgium and Holland, when they also crossed over the border into Germany to visit a war cemetery containing some British graves.
He said they had stopped for coffee and a young German woman had stopped them to offer her gratitude for their liberation of her country from tyranny.
Last year, he spoke of his gratitude after association members received the Freedom of Entry to the City of York at the Guildhall, saying: “This has been a day that we will never forget and we are grateful for the dignity and honour that have been bestowed upon us.”