A funeral has been held for one of Britain’s last D-Day veterans who flew to Normandy from Dorset.

Bill Gladden was 20 years old when he flew into Normandy on a military glider carrying a tank and six motorbikes on June 6 1944 from RAF Tarrant Rushton.

Several waves of gliders were launched from the RAF airfield in north Dorset carrying paratroopers into Normandy on the eve of D-Day.

An 80th anniversary for those who flew from the base was held on Saturday June 1.

Undated family handout photo of D-Day veteran Bill GladdenUndated family handout photo of D-Day veteran Bill Gladden (Image: PA)

During the war, Mr Gladden survived being shot by machine gun fire from a German tank and spent three years in hospital in the UK.

He had been outside the French village of Ranville, near the strategically important Pegasus Bridge that the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment was tasked with protecting.

READ: RAF Tarrant Rushton 80th anniversary memorial service

On June 17, 1944, he carried two fellow soldiers who were wounded into a barn that was being used as a medical post.

Two days later, he was shot while he was brewing tea, and was carried into the same barn.

He sustained a severe leg injury and was flown back to the UK.

Mr Gladden, of Haverhill, Suffolk, died on April 24 this year aged 100 and his funeral took place at West Suffolk Crematorium near Bury St Edmunds yesterday.

A convoy of black cabs from the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, as well as a number of bikers, escorted the hearse to the crematorium.

Serving soldiers from 2 Para and 3 Para walked ahead of the hearse as it neared the crematorium, together with standard bearers and the Parachute Regiment’s mascot, a pony called Pegasus V.

READ: Dorset residents' 'touching and emotional' commemoration of D Day

A Union Flag was draped over Mr Gladden’s coffin, with a red beret and medals displayed on top of it.

Flowers in the hearse spelt out the words “dad” and “Bill”, and a piper played on the approach to the chapel.

The song What Is The Reason? by Dorothy Squires played at the start of the service, before the hymn Old Rugged Cross.

D-Day veteran Bill Gladden arrives at the surprise party for his 100th birthday in Haverhill, Suffolk. D-Day veteran Bill Gladden arrives at the surprise party for his 100th birthday in Haverhill, Suffolk. (Image: PA)

Mr Gladden’s niece, Kaye Thorpe, fought back tears as she read a poem about their loss, and chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans Colin Mills gave a tribute.

Mr Gladden had been on trips to Normandy and the Netherlands with the Taxi charity, as well as across the UK.

Mr Mills said Mr Gladden, fondly known to members of the group as Uncle Bill, was “respected and loved by everyone at the charity”.

“Bill was full of charm, a real gentleman with a beautiful soft voice who told the most compelling stories," he said.

“He was an accomplished painter – something which he kept hidden from the charity for a long time.

“But as soon as we were made aware of his talents, volunteers inundated him with commissions to paint their pets.

“Bill loved his art and was always very grateful to have the requests to paint and his pictures have gone across the world.”

A picture drawn by Mr Gladden of a military glider was chosen for the front of his order of service.

Later in the service, a video was shown of the veteran singing Scarlet Ribbon – and scarlet ribbons decorated the orders of service.

Mr Gladden had celebrated his 100th birthday in January, with his family throwing him a surprise party.

The Last Post was played towards the end of his funeral service, and the final song was When They Sound The Last All Clear by Vera Lynn.