French award for D-Day veteran


Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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An 89-year-old veteran of the D-Day landings has been awarded France’s highest honour for his role in the Normandy invasion in the Second World War.

Ted Turner, from Waterlooville, Hampshire, was presented with the Legion d’Honneur at a ceremony at the Royal Marines Museum in Southsea by Captain Francois Jean, consul honoraire of France, on behalf of French president Francois Hollande.

Mr Turner, who helped Canadian troops secure a beachhead on Juno beach, said: “I’m accepting this on behalf of all those who never came back from the Normandy beaches. I think of them often. We spent 24 hours a day together, so we were like brothers.

“Today I was very proud, but also a bit teary. It’s an honour to receive an award that started with Napoleon.

“The conditions on D-Day were terrible. We went across on landing craft with no facilities, no toilets. When we got close to the shore, we were being fired at and I saw people being shot and one of the landing craft exploded. We slept on the beach, and I remember we didn’t eat for the first two days, and we never had a chance to change out of our boots or clothes.”

Capt Jean said: “My own father was in a concentration camp in Germany, and June 6, 1944, was the first step in the liberation of France and the release of those prisoners. It was down to these men, to their commitment, their sacrifice, that these women and men in Germany and France were liberated. It is a great honour for me to present the Legion d’Honneur on behalf of the president of France to you, Ted Turner.”

Mr Turner, who joined the Royal Marines in January 1943, is among the first D-Day veterans in the country to be given the award which was originally created by Napoleon Bonaparte and is the highest decoration in France.

The French government informed the UK Ministry of Defence last year that it wanted to recognise the selfless acts of heroism displayed by surviving veterans of the Normandy landings.

He said: “I wasn’t frightened. I was only young, so it felt a bit like an adventure to me.”

Published: Monday 23rd March 2015 by The News Editor

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