An elderly couple who fled the Nazis before fighting for Britain in the Second World War died following a suicide pact which they made years earlier, an inquest has heard.

Colin Anson, 94, and his 91-year-old wife Alice died of pneumonia in hospital after taking tablets which they had been 'gifted' by a doctor's widow.

The devoted pair had fallen in love as teenagers after fleeing from their native Nazi-occupied countries and had gone on to fight against the Germans after becoming British citizens.

SEE ALSO: Alice and Colin Anson celebrate 60 years of marriage

But the couple, who lived in Watford, feared that would become a burden on their family and always vowed they would end their lives together.

Hatfield Coroners Court heard how the couple were forced to call an ambulance from their home in Elm Avenue after their overdose attempt failed.

They left their family a note reading: "We've had a long and happy life, what more could one expect?"

The pair - who had made no secret of the fact they wished to end their lives and even told neighbours about their funerals - died of pneumonia in hospital, 11 days apart.

Ealing Times:

Colin Anson (pictured with his mother) was born in Germany but fled her home to escape Nazism

Hertfordshire Coroner Geoffrey Sullivan, told the court this morning: "A very full life was lived by both and, from information taken from the family, I heard they were very keen to preserve their independence and felt strongly when their health deteriorated sufficiently they would take their lives into their own hands.

"I've heard the background to their full and eventful lives and their wish to bring them to an end when they deteriorated and how they voluntarily did it together."

The inquest heard how Mr Anson was born as Claus Leopold Octavio Ascher in Berlin, but escaped the country in the 1930s on the Kindertransport to Britain.

SEE ALSO: World War Two memories of a German refugee

His father had been a political opponent to Adolf Hitler during his rise to power and died in the Dachau concentration camp.

Mr Anson then followed in his father's footsteps and fought against the Nazis when he joined the Royal Marine Commandos, having trained at Achnacarry in the Scottish Highlands.

Mrs Anson, whose parents were Jewish, was just 14 when she fled to Britain on the Kindertransport.

Born Alice Gross in Vienna, the teenager was was able to escape the Nazi regime in 1938 - thanks to her grandfather’s business contacts in Europe - and made her way to England.

In 1949, she met her future husband in a cafe in London, where he was having tea with his mother.

She became a volunteer in Harrow and was heavily involved with Woman's Aid which she continued to support into her 90s.

She also worked as a WAAF photographer and helped to pinpoint launch sites of Hitler's V1 flying bombs.

After the war, Mr Anson eventually became a warehouse manager and the couple had a family together.

The hearing was told how, in June last year, the pair took tablets which had been given to them by a friend who died three years previously.

In a note to their family, the Ansons said the doctor's widow knew the couple 'would not misuse them', the hearing heard.

They added that they did not want to 'hang around suffering and bothering the family we love'.

The hearing was told how, when it appeared the suicide attempt had failed, Mrs Anson phoned an ambulance and said they needed help.

Detective Sergeant Ian Siggery told Hatfield Coroner's court: "She reported her and her husband had a joint suicide attempt and needed assistance.

"Paramedics found the front door closed but unlocked. They tended to both patients, and also contacted Hertfordshire constabulary."

The couple were rushed to Watford General Hospital in separate ambulances where medics started treatment to counteract the effects of the painkillers.

However, the tablets caused respiratory difficulties which increased their risk of pneumonia.

Post mortem examinations found both Mr and Mrs Anson died as a result of pneumonia caused by an overdose.

The couple died 11 days apart - Mrs Anson on June 16 and Mr Anson on June 27.

Mr Siggery told the inquest police did not suspect they were coerced into their deaths and he felt they decided to do it together.

The officer took an unusual step for an inquest and went into some of the couple's history to illustrate the vibrant lives they had lived.

"They both fled Nazi occupation in the late 30s via the Kindertransport and it transpired Colin's father had been one of Hitler's political opponents during the 1930s,' he said.

"He changed his name to Colin Anson and then joined the British Army.

"'He became one of a few of a dozen Germans who joined the British Marine Commandos and was very active in World War Two.

"He took part in invasions of Italy, Sicily and the Greek islands and was quite severely injured at one point."

The coroner recorder a conclusion of suicide for both Ansons and gave their causes of deaths as pneumonia brought about by an overdose.

The couple left behind their children, Barbara, Diana and Edward, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.