A VETERAN who fought in the Second World War has died aged 102.

George Claxton, who lived in Southbourne, was one of a small number of Chindits still alive and was part of one of the most gruelling operations of the war.

Known officially as the Long Range Penetration Groups, the Chindits were specially-trained troops who fought behind Japanese lines during the Burma campaign in 1943-44.

George, who was part of the Reconnaissance Corps, was involved in Operation Thursday - the second of the Chindit campaigns.

Faced with disease, difficult terrain and days without food, the troops faced, arguably, the worst prolonged infantry fighting experience of the war.

The veteran died at St Anne’s nursing home in Southbourne on July 31.

His niece, Veronica Evans, said: “He moved to Bournemouth with me in 2011 after his wife died, he had lived in Essex since 1954.

“He loved cycling and would have loved to see all these people cycling these days.

“There are five Chindits still alive who are over 100 years old.”

Veronica said because she was brought up by her grandparents, she considered George more of a brother than an uncle.

She said although he was only five feet four inches, he was very strong and took after his dad.

“We decided to take him on a cruise,” she continued.

“It was the first time he had been abroad since the war, he flirted with all the ladies even though he was in his 90s.

“He was a gentleman and was so lovely, just a lovely man.

“He worked hard and looked after his own, he was very family-orientated.

“He lived a good, long life, everybody loved him.

“St Anne’s Nursing Home looked after him very well.”

Recalling tales of George’s time in Burma at his 100th birthday celebrations in 2018, Veronica said: “We got a telegram once a month. I remember if one didn’t arrive my grandmother would be beside herself.

“When he first went over to Burma, he was in an armoured car. Major Fergusson gathered him and the other men in this clearing and said: ‘I’m going to take all these cars away from you’. He issued them with boots with a spare lot of hobnails before they set off into the jungle.”