A HELENSBURGH Second World War veteran who received France's highest order of merit for his Royal Navy service on D-Day has died.

Commander Harry Johnson RN (Rtd) MBE, who celebrated his 100th birthday last year, passed away peacefully at the Vale of Leven Hospital on October 6.

News of his death was announced in an intimation published in the Advertiser on Thursday, October 26.

Born in 1922, Harry was a beloved husband to his late wife Liz, a loving father to his children Jeremy and Lindsey, and much-loved grandfather and great-grandfather.

Harry – who was originally from London - joined the Royal Navy when he was just 17 and undertook initial training at Dartmouth before moving on to specialist engineering training at the RN Engineering College, Devonport.

His first deployment was on board the light cruiser HMS Enterprise, where he served as a lieutenant and spent months preparing for the invasion of Normandy.

Helensburgh Advertiser: The HMS EnterpriseThe HMS Enterprise (Image: Imperial War Museum collection/ Ministry of Defence)

Thirty-six years later, in August 2018, Harry received the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur in a ceremony at NM Baval Base Clyde.

The honour was presented as part of a French government programme to acknowledge the efforts of British service personnel during the Normandy landings of June 1944.

It was presented specifically for Harry's participation in the D-Day landings.

Speaking at that ceremony five years ago, Harry said: “I remember waking at dawn on D-Day and going on deck to find the sea completely covered with ships and crafts of every conceivable shape, size and purpose, for as far as the eye could see and mostly heading for the beaches.

“The Enterprise was allocated to Utah Beach in the American sector, and her first task was to soften up the beach defences and then to lay down fire ahead of the Allied advance.”

In 1971 Harry left the Navy after reaching the rank of Commander. He went on to join the Royal Navy's Engineering Service, where he ended his career in 1982 as the chief services engineer at Faslane.

Thirty-six years later he was presented with the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur by Emmanuel Cocher from the office of the French Consul General in a ceremony at the Clyde base's shore establishment, HMS Neptune, in August 2018.

Among those present at the ceremony five years ago were Harry's daughter Lindsey and her husband Stuart, who travelled from Dunfermline to attend the ceremony, as well as other family members and friends.

Harry's funeral service will take place at Cardross Crematorium on Thursday, November 2 at 12.15pm.