Liverpool

Admin error WW2 veteran from Wirral receives Legion d'Honneur

Alf White
Image caption Alf White was "thrilled" when he received a letter saying he had been awarded the Legion d'Honneur

A D-Day veteran, who was called up to serve at the age of 17 due to an administrative error, has been awarded France's highest military honour.

Former Army private Alfred White, 93, has received the Legion d'Honneur.

He was called up because his date of birth was recorded as 1920 instead of 1922. He is believed to be the last surviving member of his Merseyside-based unit.

Mr White, from Wirral, said the medal was a "nice Christmas present".

Image copyright Alf White
Image caption Alf White joined the Territorial Army in 1939 aged 16 and went on to serve in northern France in 1940

Mr White, who is known as Alf, was a driver who helped lay a pipeline during Operation Pluto in 1944 - a vital communications lifeline.

His granddaughter Janey Lumley, from Gloucestershire, said Mr White remained with the Army despite his captain discovering his true age.

She said the error was discovered because his late brother Tommy was registered as being a month older than him rather than two years.

Image copyright Alf White
Image caption Alf and Tommy White were recorded as being born a month apart on Army documentation

Once it was discovered there was "nothing they could do" so they continued, she said.

Mr White, from Heswall, served in the Birkenhead-based 1st Army Tank Brigade.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1939 aged 16 and first served at Dunkirk and later in north Africa, the Middle East and Germany. He left the Army in 1946.

Mrs Lumley said: "He is an unsung hero. He has never spoken of his time in the war and I felt that he deserved this credit."

She said the honour was "also on behalf of his unit who won't get the award as it is not given posthumously".

Mr White said: "I was thrilled to bits. I have got other medals, but they are campaign medals."

An official ceremony will follow at a later date.