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75 years later: Veteran collects his Second World War medals

Derek Whitefield accepts Second World War medals after 75 years. Credit: ITV Border

It's taken three quarters of a century, but today a 95-year-old veteran from Carlisle has accepted his Second World War medals.

Like thousands of others, reluctant hero, Derek Whitfield, did not apply for the honours when he returned home from Europe as he thought they would only bring back bad memories

It was his great-grandchildren, who are learning all about the 75th anniversary of D-Day in school, that asked Derek to receive them.

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Originally from Manchester, Mr Whitefield joined the Border Regiment and fought on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

  • Derek recollects the 'terrible' day he left England for Europe.

He accepted the medals in a special ceremony hosted by the Military Museum in Carlisle Castle. Four were awarded to Mr Whitfield, each representing vital moments during the war that he played a role in.

  • The 1939-45 Star was awarded to those who saw active service overseas during the Second World War.
  • France and Germany Star was awarded to British Commonwealth forces who served in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands or Germany between 6 June 1944 and 8 May 1945.
  • Defence Medal was awarded for service in World War II.The colours on the ribbon represents the British fields, the fires of the blitz and the blackout.
  • War Medal was an honour given to anyone who served 28 days or more in the military and sports national colours - red, white and blue.
(Left to right) 1939-45 Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal Credit: ITV Border

His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were all there to watch with pride as Derek welcomed the overdue honours from museum curator Stuart Eastwood.

As one of the few remaining survivors of the largest seaborne invasion in history, we asked Derek what his message would be to the world.