William Jenkins, of Dundee, who has died aged 96, falsified his age to join the Royal Navy and ended up as a landing craft gunner on D-Day.
He normally manned the gun on the right side of the craft but on one of the trips to ferry troops to Sword Beach, his opposite number took his position.
William had no choice but to take up the left-hand position and it was a switch that saved his life. His fellow sailor, who had swapped places, died under enemy fire.
For his actions on D-Day, William was awarded the Legion D’Honneur by the French Government in 2019.
William Kennedy Jenkins was born in Carnoustie to farmworker John Jenkins and his wife Alexina.
When he was six, the family emigrated to Canada but after two years, they decided life abroad was not for them.
William, his mother and siblings returned to Angus while his father joined them later, having worked his passage on cattle boats.
When he left school, William began working at Longhaugh Quarry, Dundee, then in 1942, altered his birth certificate to sign up for war service.
His grandson, Graeme Jenkins said: “When you look at the birth certificate there is no mistaking it had been changed. It was so obvious but he managed to sign up for the Royal Navy.”
After the war, William became a steel erector and travelled the country working on major construction projects including the Humber Bridge.
In 1946 at Mid Craigie Church, Dundee, he married Gertrude Glen, who had been a close neighbour of his in Fintry.
William had been a boxer in his youth and in later years took up both indoor and outdoor bowling at Fairmuir.
He was predeceased by Gertrude and son William Kennedy Jenkins and remained living independently at his home in St Mary’s, Dundee, until his death.
Graeme said: “He ate porridge with salt every day so maybe that was the secret of his long life but his siblings also reached good ages.
“He was attending the Royal Naval Association club in Dundee until he was 93.”