One of Chorley and Leyland’s most well-known and last remaining Second World War veterans has died.
Long serving ex-soldier Noel Pearson, from Chorley, died aged 96 on June 1.
He passed away after an eight month battle with ill health following a fall he had in October last year.
Until then, he had been out of the house almost every day, according to his son, Kevin Pearson.
Kevin, 53, described him as “well thought of” man who was known to everybody in the area, as he lived in Chorley and worked in Leyland following his departure from the army.
Kevin said: “Everywhere he went people knew him.
“It’s a nice feeling to know that he was so well thought of.
“He was a fun-loving man who enjoyed going out walking and going for a drink at weekends – and he was a really good dancer.
“And as he got older he enjoyed going into town every day and sitting in Astley Park in the summer.
“He had a lot of time for his family and loved all of his grandkids.”
Noel leaves behind six grandchildren and three children – Kevin, Ken and Joan.
The mother of his children,
Betty Pearson, died in 1973
and his second wife, Joan Pearson, died three years ago.
Kevin added: “We are all obviously very upset, but his health had deteriorated rapidly since he had the fall.
“He was in hospital for three months and he only went into Gillibrand Hall Nursing Home in January.
“Until then, he was completely independent and did everything by himself.
“I think he is the last Normandy veteran from the Second World War in Chorley.
“I think this is great and I feel proud that he lived so long.”
Noel joined the Royal Artillery in 1940, when he first served in Iraq, protecting the oilfields.
He then moved into North Africa and into Italy with his unit, until he was pulled out to become part of the Normandy Landings where Noel served as part of a Forward Observation Post team for the Royal Artillery.
His unit then moved into Germany, and at one stage there he was wounded by an enemy Artillery shell.
He was demobbed after the end of the War, on the September 23, 1946.
Noel served with distinction in many operations and earned medals such as the 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.
His application for the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French order for military and civil merits, has also been accepted and forms have been sent to the French government.
After leaving the army, Noel then worked at vehicle manufacturers, Leyland Motors, in Leyland, for a number of years before retiring.
Tim Day, secretary of the Chorley and District Ex-Services Association, said: “Noel will be sorely missed – rest in peace.
“He was a well-respected and much loved member of the association.”
Noel’s Funeral will be held on Wednesday, June 8, beginning at 12pm with a service at St George’s Church, St George’s Street, Chorley.
The service will then move on to the Charnock Richard Crematorium, Preston Road, for 1pm.