Ministry of Defence
D-Day 75: Légion d’Honneur presented to D-Day veterans on HMS Belfast
Veterans awarded France’s highest honour one hundred days before 75th anniversary of Normandy Landings.
Four British Royal Navy veterans were awarded France’s highest honour yesterday for their service in helping to liberate France almost 75 years ago.
The French government awarded medals to Denis Haley, Charles Kavanagh, Patrick Reardon and John Nicholls, who all took part in the allied Normandy Landings, as a way of honouring them for risking their lives to secure France’s liberation in the Second World War.
Since June 2014, more than six thousand medals have been awarded by the French government.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson yesterday said:
Today is a reminder of why this June we must show our special generation, that we will never forget the debt we owe for the peace and freedom we now enjoy. I would like to thank the French Embassy for their efforts in honouring these men for helping to liberate Europe 75 years ago.
HMS Belfast is a perfect setting and I would like to commend IWM for an ambitious programme of events across their UK sites that offers people the chance to experience the extraordinary story of D-Day at their doorstep.
Denis Haley, 92, served as a signalman aboard HMS Southward Ho towing parts of the mulberry harbour from Portsmouth to Arromanches. He yesterday said:
A lot of the things that occurred at that time are lost to people’s memories now especially the relationship between members of a ship’s company – you become more than mates, you share things. It was my whole life for nearly 4 years. It’s a very, very, very special day today. I’m absolutely overwhelmed.
Patrick Reardon, 93, volunteered for D-Day aboard HMS Sheffield, landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
John Nicholls, 93, served on HMS Argonaut, firing on German gun batteries on Normandy and driving landing craft to deliver supplies from ship to shore.
Charles Kavanagh, 92, helped to land tanks on Sword beach on D-Day and then supplies for the American Army on Omaha beach.
One hundred days to D-Day 75
With one hundred days to go until D-Day 75 commemorations in the UK and France, the event offered the chance for the veterans who took part in the Normandy landings in 1944 to share their stories and experiences.
The medal presentation took place on board the historic landmark HMS Belfast in its Ward Room with the medals presented by French Ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in attendance.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson toured the vessel alongside the French Ambassador to hear how the Imperial War Museum will retell the magnificent land, air and sea story through its Second World War collection and its three historic sites: HMS Belfast, IWM Duxford and the Churchill War Rooms.
Latest News from
Ministry of Defence
Life-saving frontline technology given £5 million boost17/04/2019 12:15:00
The development of the TXA Autoinjector will allow life-saving blood clotting treatment to be given at the push of a button.
UK and India strengthen defence ties with new agreement17/04/2019 10:15:00
The UK is set to strengthen defence ties with India through a renewed Memorandum of Understanding, Defence Minister Stuart Andrew has announced.
Apaches take off for Estonia16/04/2019 16:42:00
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson bid farewell to Army aviators as they took off for Estonia, where they will be training alongside NATO forces working to reassure our allies and deter our adversaries.
RAF Northolt runway closes as planned for resurfacing16/04/2019 13:15:00
RAF Northolt’s runway has closed for 6 months as planned so that resurfacing works can take place.
Cornish soldier killed during World War 1 is finally laid to rest16/04/2019 10:15:00
Private (Pte) Arthur Burt who served with the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, has been honoured and has finally been laid to rest
Dstl launches new game to recruit brightest minds for cyber work16/04/2019 09:10:00
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has launched an online game to recruit more than 60 staff to work in Cyber and Information Systems.
Suppliers announced for housing and facilities management contract framework10/04/2019 16:05:00
DIO’s Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) programme has reached a milestone with the announcement that Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has appointed companies to new frameworks for new housing and facilities management (FM) contracts.
Dstl to host AI Defence and Security Conference10/04/2019 11:10:00
Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the theme for this year’s “AI Fest”, an annual conference hosted by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) that explores the implications of AI for Defence and Security.