Laurence Churcher landed in France in 1940.

The former sailor believed to be the last surviving British Royal Navy veteran of the Battle of Dunkirk has died at the age of 102. Lawrence Churcher, who was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, died at a nursing home in nearby Fareham, just days before his 103rd birthday, according to Project 71, a charity that supports World War II veterans. “A truly remarkable man, loved and respected by all who knew him,” the charity wrote on Facebook.

Churcher, who had been awarded the Légion d’honneur, was assigned to HMS Eagle at the start of the war and landed in France in May 1940 to help bring ammunition to the front lines and was sent to the railway station outside Dunkirk. The charity stated: “When he, along with thousands of other members of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force), was ordered to retreat to the beaches, he began searching for the Hampshire Regiment in the hope of finding his two brothers, Edward and George. “Incredibly, they met and flew back to the UK on the same ship.” Churcher is quoted as saying, “When my brothers found me, I was relieved. There were so many soldiers there, constantly bombing planes and firing machine guns, I had so many thoughts until I boarded our ship.”

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