Normandy veterans honoured in Wing ceremony

The impressive surroundings of The Wing at the Battle of Britain Memorial proved an appropriate backdrop for a ceremony in which seven veterans of the Normandy landings received France’s top military honour.

While the visitor centre’s main role is to highlight the enormous sacrifices made by ‘the Few’, the  heroes of the Battle of Britain, the Trust was delighted to welcome seven equally brave servicemen from other branches of the Armed Forces.

The seven veterans were given the rank of Chevalier within the Légion d’honneur and had their medals presented to them by James Ryeland, Honorary Consul for France at Dover in a moving ceremony attended by close family members.

Recipients included a former sister with the Imperial Military Nursing Service, a Lancaster navigator, a naval gunner and a Platoon Sergeant with the Royal Army Service Corps.

The ceremony is the result of an announcement made by French Président François Hollande on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, when he declared that all British veterans who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War would be appointed to the Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur.

Eligible servicemen and women took part in military operations in France between 1944 and 1945, and are now in their nineties. Although the Honorary Consul presented around 25 veterans with the award in 2016, this was the first time the Battle of Britain Memorial – home to the National Memorial to the Few – had been used as the venue.

The seven recipients of La Legion d’honneur with James Ryeland

The recipients –

Joan PRICE – Gillingham

Sister, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service


Kenneth Albert DRURY – Sittingbourne

RAF Pilot officer, retired squadron leader, navigator on Lancaster bomber


Edward Cecil SNOW – Staple

Steward & Bofors gunner, Merchant Navy


William Richard JACOBS – Kennington

AB Seaman, Royal Navy on motor launch 140, mine sweeping


William Ernest Alfred ADAMS – Maidstone

AB Seaman, Royal Navy, HMS Pelican, anti-submarine operations


Gordon Frank HOLLAND – Sittingbourne

Platoon Sergeant Royal Army Service Corps


David Herbert Henry NORRIS – Dover

Greaser, Merchant Navy.



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