A WAR hero, who was involved in the D-Day landings, has died just a month after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Charles Benford, of Admiral Court Care Home, Leigh, was awarded three medals for his service including the France and Germany Star.

He served as an army sergeant in the Second World War.

Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the veteran, who was born on July 12, 1919, in South Fambridge.

Sir David said: “The family of Charles Benford will say their final farewell to the D-Day veteran.

“Charles was truly inspirational and I was honoured to spend time with him at his 100th birthday celebrations just a few weeks ago.

“His warm personality will be missed by all who knew him.”

Ian Thomas, Visitor, SSAFA Southend and Rochford: “I "discovered" Charles when visiting Admiral Court care home in July 2017 and through their staff & carers arranged for him to join us at Veterans' Club a couple of times August/September 2017.

"The first time he was accompanied by a carer and second time by his son.

"Charles served in 2nd Bn Essex Regiment and fought in Normandy on D-Day. A long quotation by Charles is recorded on pages 161/2 in the attached 56th Inf Bde Normandy June-Sept 1944 paper.

"I visited Charles a few times in the past few months before he sadly passed away just after his 100th birthday party which I attended and personally gave him a "SSAFA" birthday card.

"I gave him a programme of the RBL D-Day 75th Commemorative Service at Bayeux War Cemetery for which he was most appreciative. “

Charles moved to Southend at the age of 11 where his grandfather taught him the butchers’ trade until he was called up to the army in 1939.

He reported for duty with the 2nd Battalion Essex Regiment (The Pompadours) at Warley Barracks on January 15, 1940.

From there he served across the UK before the battalion received large drafts of men to bring it up to strength for D-Day.

The Battalion and Brigade landed on Gold Beach on D-Day June 6, 1944. Charles – then a Sergeant with a Bren Gun Carrier platoon - remembers sailing in a landing craft and from there they fought their way in land to liberate Bayeux the following day.

Thanks to Battalion’s bravery and efforts the war ended. While the war was underway, Charles began to exchange correspondence (as a pen friend) with Doreen Turvey.

Charles and Doreen married in September 1945 and later became proud parents to John and Sandra.

Sadly, Doreen passed away in 2011 after 65 years of marriage. They had one son, one daughter, ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Care staff had previously described Charles as “their hero” who was loved by all.