Briton Joe Cattini died on Tuesday night at the age of 100 in his hometown of Suffolk. He was one of the last surviving liberators of Eindhoven, and an honorary citizen of the city.
He died in the presence of his daughter, Stichting 18 September (foundation 18 September) announced. In January he was named honorary citizen of the city. That happened in the week he turned 100 years old. This honorary citizenship placed him in an illustrious list, together with soccer coach Guus Hiddink, swimmer Pieter van den Hoogenband and former Mayors Rein Welschen and Rob van Gijzel, among others.
In addition to the badge of honor, Cattini also received the first Local Hero Award for his actions earlier this year. He has become the namesake of that award. From now on, this award will be given every two years in Eindhoven to a young person who has shown exceptional drive and determination for a cause, belief or individual, despite setbacks.
Cattini headed for the Netherlands via Paris and Antwerp after D-Day in 1944. With other allied soldiers, he liberated Eindhoven and villages in the region. This happened during Operation Market Garden, the allied offensive against the Nazis. He also fought during the so-called Ardennes Offensive.
Cattini was praised not only for his struggle on the battlefield, but also for his efforts after the war. Indeed, for the Briton, World War II did not stop after the collapse of the Third Reich in May 1945. Thus, he was a regular visitor to Eindhoven. Cattini then attended the traditional torchlight procession and visited schools, to pass on the story of the war to new generations.
In addition to the awards in Eindhoven, the British veteran also received the Legion d’Honneur from the French president in 2016. This is the highest award a foreigner can receive in France.
Studio040 dwelled extensively on his 100th birthday in January. You can watch the report again, which is partly in English, here:
At the office of the Lichtjesroute (route of lights) in Woensel, the flag will fly at half mast from Wednesday, because of the death of Cattini.
Translated by: Bob