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Merseyside veteran receives France’s highest honour

Harry was a signaller with the 2nd battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. Credit: Royal British Legion

D-Day veteran, 98-year-old, Harry Howorth, from Southport, has received France's highest honour, the Legion d’Honneur medal.

The veteran had not about his experiences in Normandy and had never been back to France until he joined the Royal British Legion 75th anniversary cruise last month.

Harry was recognised his bravery after the Royal British Legion submitted an application on his behalf.

He was presented with his medal by the French consul to Liverpool.

Harry was a signaller with the 2nd battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry and landed on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944, with the aim of capturing the city of Caen.

The British troops were met by a German counter-attack from the 21st Panzer Division and Harry’s battalion lost 113 men on that day – roughly one in seven of his comrades.

There was fierce fighting for the next six weeks, known as the Battle for Caen, but Harry’s battalion helped to capture the devastated city.

Credit: Royal British Legion

Harry said:

I’ve never picked up any of my other medals, because I know people who were promised bravery awards and never got them, so I did that to show my support, but this is entirely different, so I will wear this one with honour.

Before I went on the Legion cruise to Normandy, I’d never spoken about D-Day, but since meeting up with other veterans on that ship I’ve felt able to share my experiences, so from that point of view it was a wonderful thing to do.

For 75 years I’ve just never talked about it, it was too painful. But I’m pleased I went back to Normandy in the end.

We got a hero’s welcome in France last month, although I really don’t see myself as a hero, we simply did our best. I’m just so glad that the people of France have seen fit to give me this medal.

– Harry Howorth