Family of Knutsford Normandy veteran hope French war medal will arrive in time for 100th birthday

Video report by Victoria Grimes

The family of a Normandy war veteran are hoping a medal from France will arrive in time for his 100th birthday.

Ernest Morris, who lives in Knutsford, should receive the country's highest order of merit for his bravery in the Second World War - but it has been delayed.

The 99-year-old's military service has already earned him the 1939-45 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the 1939-45 Medal.

Now, his family have been desperately trying to secure him another one.

Ernest Morris' medals (left) and the The Ordre national de la Légion D'honneur (right). Credit: ITV News / PA images

The Ordre national de la Légion D'honneur was created by Napoleon in 1802 and is awarded to those who have demonstrated "outstanding merits in the service of the nation, in a military or a civilian capacity."

Ernest's son, Alvin Morris, believes his father should be awarded the honour.

He as enlisted the help of Tatton MP Esther McVey, officials from the Ministry of Defence and the French Embassy in London to try to speed up the process.

Alvin explained: "This has been 12 months in the pipeline but we're just having to wait for the French Embassy to advise all their procedures have been followed and the award is confirmed."

Born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Ernest joined joined the Army in January 1942 at the age of 19, serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the 59th Infantry Division.

Five months later, on his 22nd birthday, his battalion landed in Normandy as active participants in the D-Day operations.

Ernest recalls the moment he was seriously injured during the Second World War.

After pushing through France and Belgium, they reached the small Dutch town of Venray, where Ernest was told of an unexploded bomb in the cellar of a house.

With little thought for his own safety, he picked up the bomb and - carrying it "like a little baby" - took it out to the garden where he carefully placed it in a shell hole.

The house was the local Mayor's who awarded Ernest the Dutch Liberation Medal for his bravery after the war.

But in October 1944, two years after joining the army, Ernest was badly injured and had to be repatriated back to the UK where he spent the next 18 months in hospital.

His left arm was permanently paralysed and his right leg had to be amputated above the knee.

Ernest's son, Alvin Morris, explains why his father should be awarded the honourable French war medal.

After the war, Ernest was awarded several medals for service to his country, and now his family hope the final one from France will arrive in time for his 100th birthday.

Alvin said: "I've often heard about her my father say if I could throw all my medals away and have all my comrades back, I would be very happy to do that.

"Medals are things that hang from you but don't bring your dead and wounded comrades back into this world.

"I think that medal for what he has been through and all the upset and fighting that he did, he deserves that medal not just for himself but for all the comrades that fell in war."

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