WW2 veteran receives France's top D-Day medal
ceremony was held in Burnham-On-Sea on Friday night (October 6th)
to present a town war veteran with France's highest wartime honour
for his role in the Normandy landings 73 years ago.
we first reported
here in July, the French Government has awarded Burnham pensioner
Tony Winterburn, 92, with the Chevalier de L'Ordre National de la
Legion d'Honneur in recognition of his involvement in the liberation
of France during the Second World War.
Friday evening, more than 50 local people gathered at Burnham-On-Sea
Community Centre to see Colette Winfield of Burnham's U3A French
group present Tony with his award, 73 years on from the D-Day landings
where he was involved.
read out a letter of congratulations from the French President before
presenting Tony with his award. She told Burnham-On-Sea.com it had
been a "great honour and privelege to present the award on
behalf of France."
gave a moving account of his involvement in the D-Day landings,
and he told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It's was so special to have
the award presented in my home town among so many friends and local
French consul had offered to present the award elsewhere, but I
said I'd prefer it to be done locally - and it was a perfect evening."
evening was held at the Community Centre in Tony's honour, with
French food served and entertainment from a local brass band.
said it was "great honour" to have received this award
from France. He served in the Merchant Navy and had just been promoted
to Second Radio Officer when he was posted to SS Stanridge in May
1944. The ship was ordered to load war supplies and several hundred
recalled: "Early in June, we sailed for Normandy, an area in
the vicinity of Arramanches, and landed our men and cargo on the
beach, via landing craft. We made five or six subsequent voyages
from London Docks, landing men and materials on Gold, Sword and
Juno beach heads."
each passage through the Dover Straits, always at night, we were
in action against German E-Boats and suffered losses. Our final
run to Normandy ended on August 10th, 1944."
Bermann, the Ambassador of France to the United Kingdom, says in
her letter to Tony: "I offer you my warmest congratulations
on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military
engagement and your steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France
during the Second World War."
adds: "As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never
forget the heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth
to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France."
owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were
ready to risk your life."
told Burnham-On-Sea.com how he learned of the award: "It all
came about after my daughter Miranda read an article in a London
newspaper about someone who'd received the award and we realised
that the French government is recognising those who were involved
in the Normandy landings."
initially approached the MoD and sent in a record of the ships that
I'd served on and the dates of my service in the war."
MoD confirmed I would be applicable and soon after I received a
letter from the French ambassador confirming that the President
had appointed me to the rank of Chevalier de L'Ordre National de
la Legion d'Honneur."
is a lovely to have the recognition over 70 years on, and really
wonderful that the French government is doing this."
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