One of the last Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire WWII veterans dies aged 100

  • ITV Meridian's Derek Johnson spoke to Reg Charles earlier this year.

Reg Charles, believed to be one of the last two surviving veterans from the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry who saw active service in wartime, has passed away at the age of 100.

Mr Charles landed in France in July 1944 and drove a BrenGun carrier as the Allies began the long push out of Normandy following D-Day.

In an interview with ITV Meridian earlier this year he described how he had been asked to take part in the mission to land by glider close to the two road bridges over the Caen Canal and Orne River and secure them ahead of the invasion. The mission by the Ox and Bucks was led by Major John Howard.

Mr Charles said: "Major John Howard was recruiting volunteers for crossing the river. He asked me if I would like to join.

"It would mean going up in a glider and then dropping down behind the enemy lines. I thanked him for the opportunity but told him I would rather keep my feet on the ground."

Reg Charles pictured in wartime Credit: Reg Charles' family

He also described the horrors of being an infantry soldier on foot, in which he and other had to dig fox holes to survive. He also cleared casualties while driving a jeep near Caen.

"It was pretty grim,"' he said.

"There was dead bodies and animals. I was surprised at the amount of animals the Germans used. They had horse drawn carts that carried ammunition."

Later in the war Mr Charles drove munitions and took part in the Rhine crossing in 1945.

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