Nine British World War II veterans to receive France’s highest honour
On Friday 16 October 2015, nine British World War II veterans will be awarded the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest National Order, at a ceremony on board French Navy Destroyer “Aquitaine”, calling in Leith, Edinburgh, for their role in liberation of France.
The medals will be presented by Emmanuel Cocher, Consul General of France in Edinburgh and Glasgow and Rear Admiral Patrick Chevallereau, the French Embassy’s Defence Attaché.
The veterans are being 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.
The ceremony is the latest in a number of special ceremonies that have taken place throughout the UK, since the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, when President François Hollande pledged to honour all surviving British veterans who had served in France during in 1944-45.
It is an honour for the French Consul and Defence Attaché to be presenting the veterans with the Légion d’honneur. France will never forget the gallantry and bravery they showed in taking part in the Liberation of France 70 years ago. The actions and sacrifice of these men, and that of so many who fell on the battlefield, was instrumental in bringing back freedom and peace in France and across Europe.
About the Légion d’honneur
The Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. It is France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit. On average, just 10 British nationals per year receive the Légion d’honneur.
On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, the French President announced that the distinction would be awarded to all British veterans who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War (veterans must have taken part in military operations in France between 1944 and 1945). Three thousand applications were received in the space of a few months.
The French authorities attach great importance to ensuring each veteran receives their medal, and they are working hard, in coordination with the British authorities, to ensure that the majority of the veterans who have already sent their applications to the MoD receive their medal in the coming months.
Since June 2014, hundreds of medals have already been awarded. The French Ambassador and the Consul General in Edinburgh & Glasgow will continue awarding medals at a number of ceremonies already scheduled to take place in the months ahead.