THE biography of a Second World War veteran who died of coronavirus is now available to buy, with all funds going towards a tribute in his honour.

Ray Rush, who was born in Prescot in 1923, joined the 1st Battalion of the South Lancashire regiment in September 1942 and was part of the first wave landing on Sword Beach, Normandy on June 6, 1944. He saw action in France, Holland and Belgium and finished up in Croatia.

He was awarded five medals including France's highest honour the Legion d'Honneur.

But on May 23, Ray, who was 96, died of coronavirus in Whiston Hospital.

However in the year before his death, Ray - who was the last surviving member of the 1st battalion South Lancashire Regiment - told the story of his life before, during and after the war to long-term friend John Kelly.

Those stories have been written up by John and Ray's book, Ray Rush - Last Man Standing which is available to buy online.

John said: "Many war veterans don't like talking about their experiences, but as time went on Ray wanted to share his and he wanted to go on the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations last year but he didn't get to go.

"So afterwards he then approached me with his nephew Ian to help write a book of his life and I feel so honoured to have been trusted with that.

"We took a year to just talk regularly and just before he died he read the manuscript and liked it. So it's a lovely thing to know he approved and I know those who knew him will recognise his voice in this. He was also buried with a copy, so he got to take it with him.

"The money raised from the sales of the book will go towards paying for a tribute to Ray and the 1st Battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment which is no longer now Ray passed away, but those heroes need remembering.

"They were kids sent to war from around here, they need commemorating."

To buy the book costing £9.99 go to

  •  To donate towards a statue go to