The oldest Workington World War 2 veteran, Bill Pearson has died, aged 94.

He died on January 11 and the popular war veteran will be missed by many.

Bill was in the Royal Engineers and part of the historic Operation Varsity, which led to Allied troops securing victory on the ground, and taking control of crucial German towns, villages and strongholds. After the army he was in Cumbria Constabulary for 31 years, reaching position of police inspector.

Mr Pearson had the rare ability to be able to transcend the age gap and get on just as well with both the young and old.

One of Bill’s friends, Richard Ashcroft, said: “He was an absolutely incredible man. Very astute and very switched on and incredibly articulate. Just a really decent man.

“He was a really good friend. People are going to miss him dreadfully, he was one of them blokes that could talk to kids and his own age group, he could cross the age divide no problem and he was a great one for jokes. His memory retention was incredible. When he told a tale he held everyone’s attention.

“He had such an interesting life, he completely captivated me when we talked about the war. It is an incredible loss. I will miss him awfully. He was very switched on, he sent regular emails and used whatsapp messages, he was emailing and texting right to the end. He was a very intelligent man. At the Cumbria Poppy Appeal launch in 2018 Bill stood without notes and talked for 15 minutes and what he was saying was completely appropriate for the occasion.”

Lesley Jackson, from Workington Royal British Legion, said: “Bill was a lovely guy and very supportive of the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal and he was always pleased he could help with such things. He was a man who was always proud of serving his country and in getting involved in anything we had going on. He enjoyed having a drink with both young and old and he will be very much missed. We had been in touch during lockdown and he said he couldn’t wait to be able to raise a glass with everyone.”

She added that Bill and her son, Jamie Richardson, made friends when Jamie became involved in the organisation of the Poppy Appeal. She said: “It was only 12 months since a get together in the legion when Jamie had only just taken the Poppy Appeal over and Bill spoke to thank him, he got on the microphone and you couldn’t get him off. Everyone was so looking forward to having a drink with him again.”

Workington Sea Cadets 379 posted a tribute to Bill on their Facebook page: “Some sad news this morning as the town mourns the loss of its oldest World War Two veteran.

“Bill was a very approachable character who always made every effort to talk to our cadets when on parades and civic events. The Workington branch of the Royal Britain Legion has dipped the flag to half mast. Your services will never be forgotten and you will leave a big hole in the community. Rest In Peace.”