St Albans D-Day veteran in coach death

PUBLISHED: 15:21 31 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 06 May 2010

The last-ever official event to commemorate the D-Day landings held at Westminster Abbey was marred when one of the dozen local veterans died as he boarded a coach. The 86-year old war veteran from Hazelwood Drive in St Albans had been keenly looking forw

The last-ever official event to commemorate the D-Day landings held at Westminster Abbey was marred when one of the dozen local veterans died as he boarded a coach.

The 86-year old war veteran from Hazelwood Drive in St Albans had been keenly looking forward to the trip to London with his comrades.

But he collapsed and died aboard the coach around 11am on Sunday, October 25, before it had even set off for London.

The journey was delayed by around an hour as paramedics fought to resuscitate the man but they were without success and sadly he could not be revived.

Ernie Brewer, 84, of Willow Way, Radlett, was one of the dozen veterans who carried on their journey after their fallen comrade was taken to his final resting place.

He said: "It was very sad but we had to carry on. I am sure it was what he would have wanted although many people were very shaken and upset."

Ernie, who was only 19 when he landed on Gold Beach 65 years ago, was awarded the French Legion d'Honneur earlier this year for his wartime services.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was among the many dignitaries present at the final service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey.

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