VETERANS gathered at an Oxfordshire churchyard to pay their respects to Major John Howard, one of the greatest heroes of the Second World War.

Major Howard led 180 troops from the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry’s 6th Airborne Division to capture Pegasus Bridge on June 6, 1944.

A ceremony took place at St Michael and All Angels Church, Clifton Hampden, where Major Howard is buried.

Among those paying tribute were Brian Cox, from Wheatley, Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Lawrence, from Iffley, Oxford, D-Day veteran Sam Langford, from Didcot, and Major Howard’s cousin Derek Chivers.

The service was conducted by the Rev Anne Ilsley, and those gathered sang the hymn Abide With Me, and a bugler played The Last Post.

Listen to participants at the commemoration, plus the playing of the Last Post and singing of Abide With Me.

  • Brian Cox, who was in the 1st Battalion of the Ox and Bucks between 1954 and 1956, talks about what a hero Major Howard was

  • Lieutenant -Colonel Patrick Lawrence, 82, from Iffley, talks about Major Howard's assault on Pegasus Bridge

  • Sam Langford, 91, from Didcot, who was with the 5th Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment when he took part in the D-Day landings

  • Derek Chivers is the cousin of Major Howard and was asked to lay the wreath

  • The Rev Anne Ilsley welcomes people to the commemoration

  • Abide With Me