The sad passing of Richard Todd brings to an end that generation of marvellous actors such as Kenneth More and John Mills, who featured in the classic British war films of the 1950s.
A couple of years ago I had the privilege of interviewing Mr Todd at his home in Lincolnshire. Initially, I was nervous at meeting someone who, for many of my generation, had been pivotal in igniting an interest in history that has lasted to this day. However, my nervousness was not warranted as I found him to be an absolute gentleman, who answered my questions, some of which were quite detailed, with patience and charm.
As a member of the 7th Parachute Battalion he was eager to help promote the exploits of the battalion and especially its defence of Pegasus Bridge on D-Day, such a vital piece of history that has really not received the attention it deserves. While filming The Longest Day it must have been the strangest of experiences to return to Pegasus Bridge, and particularly Le Port, the northern end of Benouville, where he was dug in with the few of Battalion HQ, close to the churchyard.
Fighting the effects and treatment of cancer, it was marvellous that The News of the World took the trouble to fly him out to Normandy this year, albeit prior to the D-Day Anniversary, a final farewell to the place that had been such an influence on his life.
I'm not particularly a film buff, although I believe that he was very close to receiving an Oscar. However, what better accolade could he have than that he personally helped to make Guy Gibson and John Howard household names.