Scotland

Scottish World War Two veterans awarded France's highest honour

French honour for veterans Image copyright PA
Image caption The awards were presented at a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle

Nine Scottish veterans of World War Two have been awarded France's highest honour for their role in liberating the country from German occupation.

The National Order of the Legion Honour (the Legion d'honneur) was bestowed on the men who took part in the D-Day landings at Normandy in 1944.

They received their awards at a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle.

The presentations were made by Emmanuel Cocher, the French consul general in Scotland.

'Exemplary gallantry'

Among the recipients was 99-year-old John McMillan from Barnton in Edinburgh.

He served as a Major in the Royal Artillery Field Regiment, part of the 15th Scottish Infantry Division.

After landing at Normandy in June 1944, he served throughout the campaign and was awarded the Military Cross in July of that year for acts of exemplary gallantry during active, dangerous operations against the German forces.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Kelly was among those honoured

Adam Kelly, 94, from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, was also decorated for his role as part of 525 Company, 51st Highland Division as a driver.

After landing in Normandy, he saw action near Caen in northern France and then advanced through the country into Belgium.

The Legion d'honneur was established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte in recognition of both military and civilian merit.

Membership of the Legion is technically restricted to French nationals but foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may also receive the honour.

Sacrifices made

In a statement on its website, the French Consulate in Edinburgh said: "The Consul General decorated nine British veterans for the landing and liberation of France in the presence of nearly 200 people.

"A beautiful way to start the year is to honour those heroes to whom we owe the peace, independence and rediscovered honour of our nation."

Kevin Gray, chief executive of Legion Scotland, added: "Remembrance is at the heart of what we do and ceremonies like this are another reminder of the sacrifices made and bravery shown by our veterans.

"We would like to congratulate the men that received France's highest national order as recognition for their service to their country."

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