A Suffolk veteran who flew into Normandy on a military glider and survived being shot by a tank has died at home aged 100.

Bill Gladden, of Haverhill, was just 20 years old when he arrived on a Hamilcar glider carrying a tank and six motorbikes on June 6, 1944.

After landing in the French village of Ranville, he was tasked with protecting the strategically important Pegasus Bridge.

When he was surrounded on June 17, he carried two of his fellow soldiers, who were seriously injured, into a barn that was being used as a medical post. 

Two days later he was also hit by machine gun fire from a Panzer tank while he was brewing a tea.

Despite suffering tremendous wounds, Mr Gladden was able to survive and return to England where he spent three years in hospital with a serious leg injury.

East Anglian Daily Times:

This January, Mr Gladden's family threw him a surprise party for his 100th birthday. 

Mr Gladden sat there delighted as surprise guests set off party poppers.

Dick Goodwin, honorary secretary of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: "The hall was packed with all those who knew and loved him."

East Anglian Daily Times:

Mr Gladden died at home on Wednesday.

He is survived by his daughter Linda Durrant, her husband Kenny, his niece Kaye Thorpe and her husband Alan, all of which cared for him in his later years.

His niece said her uncle was a "legend".

Another Taxi Charity volunteer, Paul Cook, said: “It was one of the biggest privileges in my life to have known Bill. I will miss him dearly. He was one of our greatest heroes and also my friend. Travel well Bill.”

Mr Goodwin added: "Bill was one in a million who was adored by everyone he met.

“Stand easy Sir, your duty is done."