Three local World War II veterans who took part in the D-Day Landings in June 1944 were presented with France's highest distinction during a special ceremony held at Tatton Park today (Friday 8th January).
The medals were presented by the French Ambassador to the UK, Sylvie Bermann. She was joined by the Rt Hon. George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP for Tatton, as well as the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs.
Wilmslow resident Eric Glennon, who turns 92 later this month, 94-year-old Robert Lasham who is also from Wilmslow and Handforth resident Norman Iredale, 91, were honoured for their role in securing France's liberation during the Second World War.
La Legion d'honneur, created by Napoleon in 1802, is France's highest distinction and honours exceptional acts of bravery and devotion by all those who served France, whether they be French by blood or 'by spilled blood'.
The medal ceremony followed a number of others that have taken place around the UK since the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, when President François Hollande pledged to honour all those British veterans who had served in France during the war.
Ambassador Bermann said "By taking part in the Normandy Landings in June 1944, in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force respectively, you played an active role in liberating our country, and you do us an honour by being here today.
"Eric Glennon, you landed with your ship on the 6th of June at sector Mike Red on Juno Beach. You fought two Sherman tanks and their crews. Your ship was then used to accommodate wounded troops.
"Norman Iredale, you served on HMS Sweetbriar. You landed on the Normandy beaches early on the sixth of June, and for six weeks escorted troops and supplies.
"Robert Lasham, you were a Lancaster pilot and captain, and on the sixth of June you took part in the bombing of a coastal battery at Saint-Pierre-du-Hont, and a German supply depot at Argetan. You went on to make a further twelve sorties against German targets in France before the liberation of Paris.
"Gentlemen. We owe our freedom and our security largely to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your lives to ensure a better and brighter world.
"Honour is the word that springs to mind when I read your stories - stories born of so much courage - and when I read about all your French and British companions who met their fate on French soil, all your comrades-in-arms you so loyally remember. On them, 'death shall have no dominion'."
She added "I'm delighted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is here to share in this very special occasion, which is also a celebration of the strength of the Franco-British alliance. In World War II we stood shoulder-to-shoulder to defend liberty, and we are doing so again today."
Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs said "On behalf of her Majesty the Queen I endorse the Ambassadors words and congratulate each of you on your well deserved honour and thank each of you for the part that you played on and after D-Day. It is huge privilege to meet all of you and I'm very grateful to France for continuing to recognise what the British did for the liberation of France 70 years ago."
George Osborne said "As the member of parliament here for constituency of Tatton, named after this building, I get to meet a lot of remarkable people and get to meet a lot of fantastic community organisations but these three gentleman are some of the most remarkable I have met doing my job as a member of parliament.
"Thinking about what you experienced and the bravery you showed and the dedication and duty you showed on that incredible day I am overawed by it. I am absolutely honoured to be standing in your presence."
During her trip to Cheshire, Ambassador Sylvie Bermann also visited Wilmslow High School, accompanied by Chancellor Osborne, where they met students studying French.