A NORMANDY veteran from York has died, less than three months after receiving France's highest decoration, the Legion d'Honneur.

Gordon Collinson was one of six veterans to have the award conferred on them by the French ambassador to Britain, Madame Sylvie Bermann, in an emotional ceremony held at at the Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, in April.

Mr Collinson, formerly of Clifton, who has died aged 92, was one of a 'magnificent seven' veterans from the York area who went back to the landing beaches on Normandy last year to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Before he set off, he told The Press of his experiences when he landed in Normandy. He said: "I landed on Gold Beach five or six days after D-Day. I was on a tank landing craft. The worst part was that they didn't tell us how deep the sea would be when we came down the landing ramp. It was up to my neck!

"I was carrying a Bren gun and a colleague was carrying the ammunition. I managed to wade to the shore."

One of his sons, John, said he had survived both the landing and the entire war uninjured, making it all the way from Normandy to a flattened Berlin. "He was always lucky," he said, adding that his father had returned for the anniversary because he wanted to remember those who had not survived.

John said that on returning home after the war, his father became a civil servant, and married Margaret, who died about 20 years ago, and had three children, John, Lynn and Peter, eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

He said his father had served with the Royal Tank Regiment and their colours would be draped on his coffin when his funeral takes place at 12.30pm on Thursday at St Philip and St James Church in Clifton, followed by a private interment.

The York branch of the Normandy Veterans Association, of which he was treasurer, also planned to mount a guard of honour, added John.