A 98-year-old D-Day veteran from Clacton made a poignant return to Normandy to honour his fallen comrades 80 years after he helped liberate Europe.

Ron Hendrey paid a visit to Normandy to say a "final farewell" to his comrades, meeting notable figures including King Charles, Queen Camilla, and other veterans at ceremonies hosted by the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Mr Hendrey said: "I’m very grateful to the Royal British Legion for taking me back to Normandy. It was an emotional opportunity to say a final farewell to those young lads we lost during the war.

Ron takes a selfie with fellow veteransRon takes a selfie with fellow veterans (Image: Royal British Legion)

"We were looked after so well by the RBL carers during our trip and I would not have missed it for the world."

Reflecting on the sacrifices made, Mr Hendrey acknowledged the significance of remembering D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

He said: "We should always remember the 22,442 servicemen and women who lost their lives.

Mr Hendrey meets crowds at Arromanches with son-in-law Kevin TogwellMr Hendrey meets crowds at Arromanches with son-in-law Kevin Togwell (Image: Royal British Legion)

"These commemorations are so important - us boys that went over there, we were just 18, 19, 20 - just kids, but we lost all that chunk of our youth.

"Youngsters these days can go to university and get all the training they need. They’re so fortunate and I hope they appreciate that."

Mr Hendrey, who served on HMS Ulster, said he enlisted in the Navy as a teenager in an effort to wear a uniform and become an air gunner.

Mr Hendrey with fellow veteransMr Hendrey with fellow veterans (Image: Royal British Legion)

He recounted the nerve-wracking eve of D-Day, recalling the chilling moment when the public address system on the ship relayed the words: "You are about to go into France to begin the liberation of Europe – I want you to give 101 per cent to our efforts in the next 24 hours."

Mr Hendrey was later sent to aid the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, taking out the Sakishima Islands by providing cover for four aircraft carriers.

After completing his military service in 1946, Mr Hendrey worked in the railway industry, looking after passengers on the premium Hook Continental service between London Liverpool Street Station and Harwich Parkeston Quay for 15 years.

The same year he met his late wife Lilian on a night bus ride home after a movie.