TRIBUTES have been paid to a D-Day veteran who has died just days after making an emotional return to the Normandy beach where he landed 70 years ago.
Roy Rowbotham, who was 93, was among those who gathered on Sword Beach on June 6 to remember their comrades who never came home.
A career soldier, he died on Saturday after returning to his home in Bishopthorpe, near York, from the anniversary commemorations in France.
Son Rob and daughter Angela said their father lived a very full life, and should be remembered as a 'fighter to the very end' who always battled adversity.
"He was as fit as a fiddle until he was into his 90s, and lived a very full life," Rob added.
Mr Rowbotham was born in Sheffield in 1921, and moved to York in 1972 when he was posted to Imphal Barracks.
He recently spoke of his experiences on Sword Beach, remembering: "It was raining cats and dogs when our truck went down the ramp of a landing barge on Sword Beach.
“There was chaos on the beach. Everything had been well organised beforehand but then nothing went as planned."
Son Rob, who travelled to Normandy with Mr Rowbotham, said father had been determined to take his place in the commemorations and had been very proud to be present.
"He rallied for the trip to Normandy, and he was at his best on the sixth and managed the whole day,” he said.
As well as Normandy, Mr Rowbotham fought as a Desert Rat in North Africa and served in Korea, Japan, Singapore, Northern Ireland and Germany - where he met his wife Christa. The couple married in 1960 and had two children and three grandchildren.