16 World War II veterans awarded France’s highest honour

French Ambassador presents 16 British veterans with the Légion d’honneur for their role in the liberation of France


Tuesday 16 February 2016

Sixteen British World War II veterans were presented with the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest distinction, during a ceremony at the French Ambassador’s Residence in Kensington, London.

The medals were presented by Ambassador Sylvie Bermann.

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

Ambassador Bermann said: “I feel privileged and incredibly moved to award these veterans with France’s highest distinction, which is our way of thanking them for the tremendous service they did to our country in the Second World War.

“We shall never forget the courage of those who fought for France’s liberation over 70 years ago. To them, France owes its freedom.”

The full list of veterans decorated is:
• David Render (Captain, Royal Armoured Corps), 91, from Totteridge, London
• Kenneth Ohlson (Lieutenant, Royal Artillery), 91, from Walton-on-the-Hill, Surrey
• Edward Bentley (Lieutenant, Royal Navy), 92, from Pinner, London
• Joseph Clements (Petty Officer, Royal Navy), 93, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
• Kenneth Owen (Petty Officer, Royal Navy), 89, from Godalming, Surrey
• Wilfred Jackson (Sergeant, Royal Army Medical Corps), 91, from Woking, Surrey
• David Greig (Private, No 1 Air Composite Platoon), 93, from Orpington, London
• Philip Colehan (Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force), 93, from Hillingdon, London
• Victor Walker (Able Seaman, Royal Navy), 90, from Abridge, Essex
• Patrick Renehan (Able Seaman, Royal Navy), 91, from St Albans, Hertfordshire
• Idris Picton (Leading Seaman, Royal Navy), 92, from Slough, Berkshire
• John Prior (Gunner, Royal Artillery), 92, from Manningtree, Essex
• Victor Blake (Trooper, 43rd Recce Regiment), 91, from Chertsey, Surrey
• Leslie Fryatt (Gunner, Royal Artillery), 92, from Thornton Heath, London
• Thomas Bootle (Driver, 6th Airborne Division), 92, from Lowestoft, Suffolk
• Alfred Court, Corporal in the Royal Tank Regiment

The ceremony was the latest in a number of medal ceremonies that have taken place around the UK 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.

Watch our interview with David Render below:

Trooper Victor Blake receives his medal from Ambassador Bermann.

Published on 31/03/2016

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