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D-Day engineers receive top French honour on 65th anniversary

Three Royal Engineers are to be honoured by the French government this weekend for their role in liberating France in 1944.

The Royal Engineers are amongst 10 British World War Two veterans who will receive the Legion d’Honneur in ceremonies this weekend, marking
the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

The Legion d’Honneur is the highest decoration in France, awarded for excellent military conduct. Among those who will receive the honour
today are several men who were among the first to land on the Normandy beaches on the morning of 6 June 1944 and a female nurse who attended to the many wounded on Gold beach.

George Batts from Maidstone, Kent joined the Corps of Royal Engineers in 1943. He landed on Gold Beach on D-Day. Albert Holmshaw from Nottinghamshire Joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1943. He embarked on a Landing Ship Tank and landed on Sword Beach. Leslie Stocking from Shrewsbury joined the Royal Engineers in 1942. He landed on Gold Beach on D-Day and helped to clear mines in France, Holland and Germany.

This afternoon, these veterans will become Knights of the Legion d’Honneur when they are presented with their Chevalier medals by the
French Minister of State for Defence and Veterans, Jean-Marie Bockel.

Peter Hodge, Honorary General Secretary of the Normandy Veterans Association, said: “We are extremely delighted that the French authorities have honoured these brave men and women. Sixty-five years ago, they risked their lives in one of the biggest military operations ever undertaken. Since then, they have all worked tirelessly with the Normandy Veterans Association to ensure that the events of June 6th 1944 are never forgotten. “

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones, who will also be at the ceremony at Les Invalides in Paris, said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the men and women of the Armed Forces who, sixty-five years ago, risked their lives for freedom. I am immensely proud that these British veterans are today being decorated with such an honour, in recognition of their great courage and bravery.”

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