Sailor thought to have been one of youngest to take part in D-Day landings dies aged 88
Sidney Goldsack, known as Peter, was just 16, three days over the minimum age to serve in the Merchant Navy, when the invasion force went ashore in June 1944.
He was so keen on doing his bit that he had his dad to write a letter letting him join up aged just aged 14 years and nine months old in 1943.
The French government, told of his D-Day service, ordered that he should be awarded the nation's highest decoration the Legion d'Honneur which he only received last year presented by James Ryeland, the honorary French consul.
And he managed to revisit the landing beaches of Normandy on last time last and attended the festival of Remembrance in London as he battled cancer last year.
I've had a full life, a great life. It's been one I've enjoyed
Peter was educated in Dover, Kent, before being evacuated during the Blitz in 1940 to Blackwood in South Wales.
But he returned to his home town to serve in the Merchant Navy.
Beryl, his widow, said: “His father had to sign special papers, because of his age, to allow Peter to go to sea and serve in a war zone.”
During the D-Day invasion he was kept busy on a salvage ship working to save war-damaged vessels following the advancing front line as the Nazis retreated.
He described the Legion d'Honneur as 'absolutely gorgeous'
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Last March when presented with the Legion d'Honneur which Peter described as “absolutely gorgeous.“
He said. “When you're that age, it's an adventure.
“I was working in Cherbourg in Normandy. The American troops went in and we went in almost immediately behind them.
“We made the harbour fit for ships to come into. I was in salvage work then, we followed the army up through France and up into Holland.
“That's where I was when the war ended.“
He added: “I've had a full life, a great life. It's been one I've enjoyed.“
The Legion d'honneur medal
He stayed in the Merchant Army until 1948 and then had 10 years ashore during which time he met his wife of 56 years before returning to sea until 1987.
He worked on the cross-Channel ferries for 29 years before leaving to work on the hovercraft at Dover and security at the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone, where he retired in 1993.
Mrs Goldsack added: “Peter was very proud of his Legion d' Honneur as he was with his many other medals.
“He was a keen member of the Dover White Cliffs branch of the Royal British Legion.
“He had suffered from cancer for some time, but in October we visited the wartime beaches of Normandy and in November we attended the festival of Remembrance in London.
“It was after these events he began to show signs of being unwell.”
As well as Mrs Goldsack, he leaves two daughters and a son.