ONE of last remaining Dunkirk veterans and a lifetime fan of the railways has died at the age of 99.

Victor Clifford Dodd, known as Cliff, was born on February 23, 1918 in Harmby near Leyburn, later moving to Spennithorne. He occupied the same house for the next 85 years.

Leaving school, he worked on the railways which was to become one of the great loves of his long life.

With war clouds gathering he decided to do his bit and joined the Royal Engineers at Thirsk in 1939. In an interview with the Darlington and Stockton Times several years ago he recalled arriving in France on April 16, 1940 – his father’s birthday.

He said: “I drove a 15 hundredweight truck up to Dunkirk and arrived at the coast.

“As I walked over the sand dune I saw the great long lines of troops waiting to be taken off. I got away myself at four o’clock that afternoon. I was on a barge being towed by a fishing vessel – it was called the Golden Sunbeam.”

Arriving in Dover and following a well-earned week’s leave he returned to his regiment, as it was feared Hitler’s troops would soon invade.

As part of the Eighth Army, Mr Dodd spent the rest of the war in North Africa and Italy. Finding himself stationed near Lake Garda, the beautiful town of Limone made a lasting impression on the young soldier.

Upon demobilisation in 1946 he returned to Yorkshire, working for British Rail, and from the 1960s he travelled every year to the same small hotel in Limone by train. A fluent Italian speaker, he became so popular with the locals that, amid great ceremony, they presented him with a painting of the village. Despite being too large to bring back on the train it eventually arrived in the Dales and became a prized possession.

Six years ago at the age of 93 he made his maiden flight to Italy, accompanied by his niece Linden Natrass.

A proud member of the Royal British Legion and, until it was disbanded in 2000, the Richmond branch of the Dunkirk Veterans' Association, he attended both the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the evacuation and the final parade in 2010.

Never marrying, Mr Dodd had a large and caring extended family.

In March last year, following a fall, Mr Dodd moved to Beechwood in Northallerton. After a short illness, he passed away on October 28. His well-attended funeral was held at Spennithorne church.