Dan Walker was quick to pay tribute after the death of war veteran Harry Billinge whom he remembered for giving a “moving and memorable” interview on BBC Breakfast.
In the week Dan announced he was leaving the show to move to Channel 5, the former Football Focus presenter and star of Strictly took to Twitter to react to news of Harry’s death at the 96 years old.
Born in Cornwall, Harry was just 18 when he was a sapper attached to the 44 Royal Engineer Commandos before the Normandy landings and was one of only four members of his unit to survive the capture of Gold Beach on the 6th June 1944.
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After his conflict period, Harry, who was awarded an MBE in 2020, then spent 60 years at the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. The Legion offered its condolences to his family, in a statement which read: “Everyone at the Royal British Legion is incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Billinge.
“He embodied the spirit of our wartime generation and his dedication to supporting veterans’ causes, including the Poppy Appeal, was nothing short of remarkable.
And BBC presenter Dan also honored Harry. Sharing an excerpt from his interview about his long and memorable life, Dan wrote: “How sad to hear that D-Day veteran Harry Billinge has passed away at the age of 96. He gave one most moving and memorable interviews about friends he lost in battle and heroism. May he finally rest in peace.”
In the clip, Harry tells host Naga Manchetty, “Don’t thank me and say I’m a hero. I’m not a hero. I was lucky I’m here.”
Dan’s followers also had fond memories of watching Harry, with one replying: “He’s a hero, not a footballer or a movie star, he was a real hero on top of that. be totally adorable, you will see your dead friends and they will be super proud of your ip”
A second commented: “Beautiful and deeply moving. We cherish our memories of these remarkable veterans, thank them for their sacrifices, and curse the division and hatred that caused the conflicts in which they fought.