World War II veteran Ronald David Bayfield passed away on March 29 after complications due to COVID-19.

As his brothers-in-arms advanced in their assault on Normandy, “Ron” as he was known, crawled out of his tank, suffering severe burns and carried an injured comrade to safety in Allied territory. The act that won him the respect of his fellow soldiers was also his one regret: those 1944 injuries held him back from joining his unit, the 23rd Hussars regiments, when they helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Born in East London, he met his wife of 76 years, Sheila, in elementary school when they were both just 7 years old. The war cut short his education at 16, after he’d received a prized spot at the prestigious Royal Liberty Grammar School. A proud Jew, Bayfield broke military protocol when he added “Jew” to his personal number and name.

In his professional life, Bayfield was a teacher, helping struggling students with learning difficulties realize their true potential. He focused his efforts in London’s poorer neighborhoods, while also running evening classes for teenagers in East London.

At 64, he retired, never imagining that he’d reach the ripe old age of 95 together with his wife. He survived Normandy only to pass away alone in a London hospital.

Bayfield is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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