Légion d’honneur for British World War II veterans

The French government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur to D-Day veterans from many different countries for several years, as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War


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.

Since June 2014, 6,000 medals have been awarded. Each month, many veterans apply to the MOD and their application is then studied by the French authorities. The process takes a few months, but careful attention is given both by the MOD and the French authorities to speed up the process as much as possible.

If you or your loved one are a veteran and wish to apply for this decoration, you can visit the following link to complete your application with the British authorities. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/d-day-70-application-form-for-award-of-the-legion-dhonneur

How are applications processed?

Applications should be sent to the British Ministry of Defence*, which checks that applicants fulfil the relevant criteria. These are then passed on to the French authorities. Applications should not be sent directly to the French Embassy or to the French authorities in Paris.

The French authorities subsequently endorse the names forwarded by the MoD for appointment to the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, before an ad hoc decree is adopted.

Due to the vast number of applications received, a new administrative procedure was put in place in July 2015 in order to speed up the processing of applications. This new procedure has had the desired effect and applications are now being processed and confirmed at a much faster rate.

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 all of the veterans who have already sent their applications to the MoD receive their medal.

*Ministry of Defence, DC Sec Commemorations, 6-C-01 Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB

How are medals awarded?

The then French Ambassador to the United Kingdom Sylvie Bermann presided over numerous ceremonies, including:

- at the Yorkshire Air Museum in April 2014
- on Remembrance Day 2014
- at the Royal Hospital Chelsea on 4 June 2015 (in the presence of HRH The Duke of York)
- at the French Residence on 14 July 2015 - the French National Day - (in the presence of Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond)
- in London on 29 September 2015 with the French Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance
- on 11 November 2015 in the presence of Minister Axelle Lemaire
- at a ceremony in Birmingham on 1 December 2015
- at the Ambassador’s Residence on 9 December 2015
- in Tatton, Cheshire, in the presence of Chancellor George Osborne on Friday 8 January 2016
- in Cardiff, Wales, on Thursday 28 January 2016, in the presence of UK Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb MP.
- At the Ambassador’s Residence on 16 February 2016
- in Liverpool on the 19 February 2016 in Liverpool Town Hall.
- on 1 April 2016 at the Ambassador’s Residence
- on 17 May at Aberdeen City Hall
- on 20 May 2016 at the Town Hall, Jersey
- on 27 May 2016 at the Ambassador’s Residence.
- on 3 October 2016 at the Ambassador’s Residence.
- on 11 November 2016 at the Ambassador’s Residence
- in January 2017 at the Ambassador’s Residence
- on 6 June 2017 at the Ambassador’s Residence

French Ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet presided over several presentations including:

- on 11 November 2017 at the Ambassador’s Residence
- on 22 November 2017 at the Maison Française, Oxford
- on 16 June 2018 at the Maison Française, Oxford to Mr Basil Scott Lyster
- on 7 November 2018 to Baroness Trumpington
- on 9 November 2018 at the Ambassador’s Residence
- on 18 June 2019 at the Ambassador’s Residence

Current French Ambassador Catherine Colonna has presided over
- a ceremony at Lancaster House on 28 October 2019

Because of the exceptionally large number of veterans involved, French consuls-general and honorary consuls around the UK will also be available to award medals at ceremonies for any veterans who wish to have their medal formally presented to them.

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.

For more information on the Légion d’honneur, click here

For more articles on the awarding of the Légion d’honneur, click here.


Should you wish to contact us for more information, please use the form below.

Send a message
  • Civility

Published on 07/01/2020

top of the page