World War II veteran honoured by France insists he's no hero

A former soldier from Gloucester says he's delighted to have been presented with a French medal for his part in the liberation of Europe.

92-year-old Len Smith drove some of the first British troops from Normandy to Berlin in 1944.

On a recent visit to France, Len was told that he qualified for the Légion d'honneur - one of France's highest honours - but Len says he's no hero.

  • Watch: "Len Smith, Ordinary Hero"

The award came with a letter from the French Ambassador. This is an extract:

We must never forget the heroes like you, who came from Britain and the commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to you, because you were ready to risk your life.

Letter to Len Smith from the French ambassador
Len Smith drove troops and equipment to Berlin in 1944. Credit: Len Smith

Len was landed on Gold beach, after D-day so that he could drive troops and equipment in an army convoy to Berlin.

He says he was overwhelmed when he was awarded the honour - but realises that all the living veterans who were there during a certain time qualify for it. He says, "It's nothing that I did personally, really".

It's not what I did while in France, it really is for everyone else.

Len Smith

Sometimes just "doing your bit" makes you every bit a hero.