Tributes to 'incredible' D-Day veteran from north Norfolk

John Worthington, centre, pictured in 2004, with fellow lifeboatmen Billy Thirtle and Ralph Kirk.

John Worthington, centre, pictured in 2004, with fellow lifeboatmen Billy Thirtle and Ralph Kirk. - Credit: Archant

From the beaches of Normandy to his home village of Overstrand, John Worthington was always a man of action.

Now tributes have been paid to the Royal Navy D-Day veteran, who has died aged 96. 

One of Mr Worthington's daughters, Gail Dewing, said: "He was a hard worker throughout his life - whenever someone needed something doing in the village, he was there.

"He was laid back, he took life on the chin and got on with it. He was an incredible man."

WW2 veteran John Worthington, 93 who has received his Legion D'Honneur after he was one of the first

John Worthington, pictured in 2016 after he was awarded the Legion D'Honneur for his part in the D-Day landings. - Credit: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Worthington was born in Wilmslow, Cheshire and grew up in Overstrand from the age of six. With the Second World War already raging, he joined the navy as soon as he was able, in 1942, and served with the Royal Naval Commandos.

During the D-Day landings he landed at Juno beach and fought, and was later assigned to a padre, tending to the fallen. He went on to serve in India and South-East Asia before being demobbed in 1946. 

WW2 veteran John Worthington, 93 who has received his Legion D'Honneur after he was one of the first

John Worthington, pictured in 2016 after he was awarded the Legion D'Honneur for his part in the D-Day landings. - Credit: Archant Norfolk 2016

Mrs Dewing said: "He married my mother [Joan] in 1947 and they moved to Beccles for a while where he worked in the printing works, and we came back this way in 1970.

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"He went crab fishing for a few years but had to give that up for health reasons, and he picked up carpentry and building work again. That's how he spent most of his years. 

"We'd walk around and he'd say, 'I did that roof' or 'I put that wall up'. He would turn his hand to anything."

WW2 veteran John Worthington, 93 who has received his Legion D'Honneur after he was one of the first

John Worthington (middle row, far left) with fellow seamen during his Royal Navy days. Mr Worthington, from Overstrand, served in Europe and Asia in the Second World War. - Credit: Submitted

The couple had four children: David, Lesley, Gail and Janet and there are now 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Mr Worthington was also a lifeboatman and a parish councillor, and he remarried, to Yvonne, after Joan died in 1987. 

Mrs Dewing said: "He's always had ties with the sea and the lifeboat has been important his whole life."

Mr Worthington was awarded the Légion D'Honneur in 2016, and went to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the landings in 2019.

He was also involved in the Royal British Legion and used to organise collections for the armed forces charity. 

Mr Worthington's funeral will be at Overstrand Parish Church on November 12 at 2pm. 

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