A D-DAY veteran who landed on the beaches of Normandy was killed by microscopic particles of asbestos, an inquest has heard.

James Peacock, 86, of Northfield Road in Pocklington, died on July 2 of last year of mesothelioma.

York coroner Donald Coverdale heard Mr Peacock, a former farmer, began work in 1968 for a builders’ merchants in Northallerton called Henry Foster Building Products, which later became Ferguson Industrial Holdings.

In a statement written in hospital before his death Mr Peacock said: “We used to take delivery of asbestos sheets measuring 8ft by 4ft. We usually had to get into the back of the truck to move the sheets. They were quite heavy and usually two of us would move them, but there was always quite a lot of dust.”

Mr Peacock said he recalled his overalls getting covered in asbestos dust and then taking them home to be washed.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Peacock had 25,000 mineral fibres per gram of lung tissue. While this was a relatively low result, it was enough to provide a link to mesothelioma considering the work Mr Peacock had done.

Mr Coverdale recorded Mr Peacock had died from the industrial disease mesothelioma.

Speaking after the case Jennifer McNally, Mr Peacock’s daughter, said she and her husband could have been affected by the dust as could their two daughters who would run to their grandfather while he was wearing his overalls.

She is now searching for the insurers of Ferguson Industrial Holdings, which no longer exists, to make a claim against them.

She said: “We’re pleased with the verdict because it confirms what we suspected. Mesothelioma is a timebomb ticking and lots of people were exposed to asbestos by accident.”

She said her father had served in Normandy during the Second World War as a Leading Aircraftman in the 83 Group Signals, serving alongside the writer, actor and comedian Eric Sykes.