York & North Yorkshire

Yorkshire WW2 veterans given France's Légion d'Honneur

All twelve of the day's Légion d'Honneur recipients
Image caption The recipients were given the accolade by French Consul Jeremy Burton, Contre Amiral Patrick Chevallereau, French Defence Attaché to the UK and Col Patrice Morand, of Air Attaché

France's highest military honour has been awarded to 12 World War Two veterans from across Yorkshire.

The men, all aged in their 90s, were given the Légion d'Honneur during a ceremony held at Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington, York.

The honour is in recognition of their roles in France and Europe's liberation from the Nazis.

They all served with either the British Navy, Army or Royal Air Force on the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Several similar ceremonies have taken place since the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014.

D-Day was the first stage of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, changing the course of the war.

Following the 70th anniversary, French President François Hollande pledged to honour all those British veterans who had served in his country during the war.

What is the Legion d'Honneur?

Robert Hall, from Harrogate, said he was "absolutely surprised" to hear he was going to be a recipient.

He said: "Two years earlier, I got hinted that they might be passing medals on to certain people.

"I feel very honoured actually. It's not just for me really, it's for the whole unit that I was on."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Legion D' Honneur (Legion of Honour) is France's highest military honour

The Legion d'Honneur is France's top accolade for an elite group of people who distinguish themselves through civilian or military valour.

It was initiated by the then First Consul of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1802.


Full list of men given the Légion d'Honneur in York on 21 February

  • Dennis Anderson, from Malton, North Yorkshire (Lieutenant, the Queens Royal Regiment)
  • Austin Byrne, from Bradford, West Yorkshire (Able Seaman, Royal Navy)
  • William Cutler, from Leeds, West Yorkshire (Able Seaman, Royal Navy)
  • Peter English, from Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire (Sergeant, Royal Artillery)
  • Robert Hall, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire (Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force)
  • Jack Holstead, from Halifax, West Yorkshire (Able Seaman, Royal Navy)
  • George Inman, from Leeds, West Yorkshire (Sapper, Royal Engineers)
  • Geoffrey Lawrence, from Bradford, West Yorkshire (Private, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)
  • Hugh Lorimer, from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire (Wing Commander, Royal Air Force)
  • Geoffrey Noble, from Brighouse, West Yorkshire (Wireman, Royal Navy)
  • Jack Pritchard, from Leeds, West Yorkshire (Private, Lincolnshire Regiment)
  • Kenneth Wrighton, from Leeds, West Yorkshire (Ordinary Seaman, Royal Navy)

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