A SECOND World War veteran from Harrow who travelled to Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings sadly died while out there.
Harold Dudman, 86, of Winchester Road, went to France with his wife Lesley – with whom he would have celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary next year - and daughter Sue Ahsan, along with fellow ex-serviceman Harry Hart and Harry's daughter Pauline Chaplin.
His eldest daughter Jane Hill said: "Having had a very enjoyable but poignant day on the Friday, including revisiting the spot at Sword beach where he had landed 65 years before, Harold passed away peacefully in his sleep in the small hours of Saturday morning, June 6, the 65th Anniversary of D-Day itself.
"He had been looking forward to receiving his commemorative medal from the Mayor of Bayeux and attending a lunch along with other veterans and Prince Charles the next day.
"Harold had been a member of the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) and had met young members of his former regiment the day before he died.
"He had been a tank driver in the 11th Armoured Tank Division."
The family were still waiting for Mr Dudman's body to be repatriated when the Observer went to press and so had not made funeral arrangements.
Mrs Hill said: "Harold was a man of many parts and will be widely missed by family, friends and the local community.
"After the war he became a welder and steel engineer, skills he had learned in the REME, and set up a steel fabrications business in different parts of London, mainly Tottenham, working from the 1950s until his retirement in the late 1980s."
Mr Dudman was given the freedom of London in 1991 for his community work and, beyond previously worshipping at St Mary's Church in Harrow on the Hill, was a wandsman at St Paul's Cathedral, which meant he officiated services, particular royal ones, and so had met most members of the Royal Family.
Mrs Hill said: "He was a real character, my dad. He had a wicked sense of humour and he always had a song for every occasion and many of them he made up by himself.
"He was a Londoner, born and bred, and was very proud of his city."