Blackpool D-Day hero dies aged 102

D-Day veteran Matthew Japp when he was 100
D-Day veteran Matthew Japp when he was 100
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One of the UK’s oldest D-Day survivors, who said he was ‘no hero’ despite being awarded France’s highest military honour, has died.

Cpl Matthew Japp was four days short of his 103rd birthday when he succumbed to pneumonia at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Matthew Japp was a decorated war hero

Matthew Japp was a decorated war hero

His proud son, Mike Japp, said: “He was my hero and always will be. He had a full life.”

A piper will play at MrJapp’s funeral, to be held at Carleton Crematorium on Tuesday, January 31, while veterans from the Royal Signals Association will also be attending.

Mr Japp was honoured by the French in 2015 for his role in liberating Europe, decoding German messages and locating the position of enemy troops after landing on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944.

“All the thousands of men I served with deserve it more than me,” he told The Gazette at the time. “They are all lying in France or all over the world. Sometimes things come back to me and I choke up. I have eight medals now. I am not a hero, just an ordinary chap.”

Mr Japp insisted he was no hero

Mr Japp insisted he was no hero

During the war, Mr Japp was picked for the Royal Corps of Signals and served with the Special Wireless Group, intercepting enemy transitions.

He later served behind enemy lines in North Africa and took part in invasion landings in Sicily and Malta before being shipped back to the UK for D-Day.

Following the historic events of June 6, 1944, he continued through France to Belgium, Holland and Germany before ending at Minden where he intercepted Russian transmissions at the start of the Cold War.

Mr Japp returned to his job as manager at grocery shop George Mason’s, before becoming provisions manager at The Lobster Pot, one of the town’s best restaurants, and later opening his own wholesalers in Yorkshire Street.

He married Melanie, who he met when passing through Brussels. They were together 60 years before her death.

Mr Japp was a Freemason for 50 years and enjoyed a drink in the Saddle Inn. He was also a published author.

He died on January 11, and was survived by son Mike, daughter-in-law Paula, and nine grandchildren and great-grandchildren.