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  1. ITV Report

96-year-old war veteran brutally beaten with hammer at his home in Taunton

Jim Booth (centre) speaking to the Duchess of Cornwall at the 70th anniversary of VJ Day. Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack/PA Archive/PA Images

The man battered by a hammer is a 96-year-old Second World War veteran and 'secret hero' of D-Day who once danced with Prince Charles' wife Camilla.

The victim, named locally as Jim Booth, was left with serious injuries to his head and body when he was attacked after what police called a distraction burglary.

Mr Booth is the only survivor of a crack ten-man team who spent five days half a mile underwater in two mini subs X-20 and X-23 before the D-Day invasion of 1944.

The daring operation helped guide Allied landing craft to Sword beach instead of drifting on to jagged rocks.

He and the team spied on Nazi troops across the shorelines before shining beacons across the sea to guide Allied forces across the treacherous rocks.

Mr. Booth was savagely attacked after answering the door of his bungalow home in Taunton, Somerset just after 4pm yesterday.

The thug asked him if he wanted some work done on his house and when he refused, he was attacked with what police believe was a claw hammer.

Mr Booth suffered serious injuries to his head and body. It's unclear how many time he was struck.

After the attack, he stumbled outside his house when he was spotted by a passing woman.

She took him to the nearest house with lights on - which happened to be that of William Watkins directly opposite the victim.

Jim Booth dancing with the Duchess of Cornwall. Credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/PA Archive/PA Images

Mr Booth was rushed to hospital for treatment. His injuries have been described as potentially life-threatening.

Mr Booth was awarded the Croix de Guerre French military medal and was part of the Combined Operations Pilotage and Reconnaissance Parties honoured with a granite memorial donated by Prince Charles on Hayling Island, Hampshire.