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Second World War veteran awarded Legion d’Honneur two days after his 93rd birthday

Great-grandfather John Newton, has been awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour, known as the Legion d’Honneur. Credit: BPM Media

A Second World War veteran has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur medal, France's highest honour, two days after his 93rd birthday.

John Newton, known as Jack, broadcast war communications from Normandy after the D-Day landings.

Mr Newton, from Aspley, Nottinghamshire, left school at 14 to work as a telegraphist at the General Post Office.

He joined the Home Guard when he was 18, and enlisted in the army when he turned 18.

He served with the Royal Signals - and was sent to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Greece and Egypt.

His nephew, Jonathon Smith, got in contact with the French government about awarding his uncle the medal.

The ceremony was arranged to coincide with the week of his 93rd birthday.

Mr Smith said his uncle had been "typically humble" about his achievements.

While on our trip to Normandy back in 2014 we discovered that Uncle Jack had never received all of his medals from the war, so I applied to the Ministry of Defence to have these sent and we presented them to him as a present for his 90th birthday in 2015.

Last year I then stumbled across an article detailing that all Normandy veterans were entitled to the award of Legion d‘Honneur so I also applied for this, which he received late last year.

Throughout, Uncle Jack has been typically humble about it all and keeps saying that he didn’t really do anything.

I think that’s typical of his generation and in particular for those that didn’t serve in a combat role on the front line – but nonetheless, he did play his part in the liberation of Europe and as a family we are proud of him to have received this great honour.

We know that Uncle Jack is immensely proud and honoured to have received it as well.

– Jonathon Smith, John Newton's nephew

Mr Newton said he was “very grateful” to his nephew for organising the ceremony.