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Coronavirus: D-Day veteran Harold Pearsall dies after contracting virus
31 March 2020, 17:04
A 97-year-old D-Day veteran has died in hospital in Birmingham after contracting coronavirus.
Harold Pearsall, who was part of the 1944 Allied attack on Caen, died on Sunday afternoon, according to the Market Garden Veterans' Association.
It said he "became a victim of the coronavirus after testing positive on Friday," adding: "Our prayers and thoughts are with Harold's family and friends."
Mr Pearsall was awarded France's highest military honour - Légion d'Honneur - in 2015 for his involvement in the Second World War.
In an interview last year, he described landing on Juno beach in 1944 shortly after Canadian troops ahead of the assault on Caen.
Travelling across the Channel, "we wasn't frightened at all," he said. "We didn't care a damn."
But, he added, "the heat from the guns... it almost burned you."
I am sad to hear one of #Birmingham's D-Day veterans, Harold Pearsall (97), who received la Legion d’honneur in December 2015, passed away on Sunday. My sincere condolences go to his friends and family.— Lord Mayor of Bham (@BrumLordMayor) March 30, 2020
Watch his interview with @ladywoodnorm in June 2019: https://t.co/h2QN5L8yzL
He later joked that he found interviews with the media "more frightening that the war."
In a tweet on Monday, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham said he was "sad" to hear of Mr Pearsall's death.
He added: "My sincere condolences go to his friends and family."
The news comes as the Department of Health confirmed on Tuesday that 1,801 people had now died after testing positive for Covid-19 - with the number expected to continuing rising.
In total, 25,150 people in the UK have contracted the virus.