Second World War veterans receive French Legion of Honour awards

The veterans receiving their Legion D'Honneur medals
The veterans receiving their Legion D'Honneur medals

Three Second World War veterans have been granted France’s highest military award for their contribution to the liberation of the country.

Thomas Milner, 90, of Great Doddington, was given the Legion of Honour at a presentation last week.

He was invited to the ceremony with 90-year-old Les Hammond of Northampton and Sydney Forscutt, 96, of Woodford.

All three men are now knights of the Legion of Honour and received medals to mark the award and their invaluable contribution to the liberation of France.

Robert Mille, French consulate representative, presented the medals on behalf of President Francois Hollande at the Guildhall in Northampton on Tuesday.

Mr Hammond and Mr Forscutt took part in the Normandy landings and Mr Milner landed on Juno Beach at the end of June 1944, one of five beaches of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr Mille said: “We owe a great debt of gratitude to these men for what they did during the Second World War.

“France was lost and adrift and we are both impressed and grateful for what they did to help liberate France.”

Wellingborough mayor Jim Bass attended the event with his wife Edwina and said: “We were both honoured and humbled meeting the three recipients of the Legion of Honour.

“My conversation with Mr Milner was most enlightening as it is distinctly possible he met my father, who was in the 82nd Airborne Army, at Arnhem during the Market Garden campaign.

“Almost everything we enjoy today is as result of the efforts of Mr Milner and his colleagues, our gratitude is immeasurable.”

Cllr David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Council, said: “It was a privilege to meet these incredible war veterans who so bravely served our country and played their part in the liberation of France.”