British World War II veterans awarded Légion d’honneur in Edinburgh

On Friday 16 October 2015, 9 Scots World War II veterans were presented with the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest distinction, at a ceremony on board the French Navy Destroyer Aquitaine, berthed in Leith, Edinburgh.

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The medals were presented by Consul General of France Emmanuel Cocher and Rear Admiral Patrick Chevallereau, the French Embassy’s Defence Attaché.

The veterans were honoured for the role they played in securing France’s liberation during the Second World War, with many of them having taken part in the D-Day landings in June 1944.

Read-Admiral Chevallereau said: “On 6 June 2014, on the beach at Ouistreham, in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, French President François Hollande sent a strong message of gratitude to Allied soldiers, and particularly to the British.
“Today, it is a true honour for me to stand here with you, in Edinburgh, and echo that message.
“Gentlemen, you are living witnesses to a history you wrote on our soil, a history which shaped your identity, our identity and those of Britain and France.
“This ceremony is not only a thank you to men who were ready to give their lives to liberate us. It is also a message to every British person: that we shall not forget. That we shall never forget.”

Anthony Delahoy, aged 92, and from Edinburgh, was one of the veterans to receive the distinction.
Mr Delahoy, who was a gunner and dispatch rider with 55 Anti Tank regiment, in Royal Artillery, made a thank you speech, saying: "It is a great honour to receive this award today.
"On my many returns to Normandy over the years, each succeeding generation of the people of France have welcomed Veterans with great kindness, dignity and honor, expressing their heartfelt feelings for the return of their freedom.
"This great honour received today is a recognition of resistance to tyranny and a celebration of liberty. Vive la France!"

The ceremony was the latest in a number of special ceremonies that have taken place since the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, when President François Hollande pledged to honour all those British veterans who had served in France during the war.

Published on 12/11/2015

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