Rasen veteran is awarded highest honour by France

Colin Walford with his medal EMN-150211-064252001
Colin Walford with his medal EMN-150211-064252001

A Middle Rasen man has been awarded France’s highest honour for the part he played in the D-Day Landings more than 70 years ago.

Colin Walford has received the Legion d’honneur, one of many veterans to be given the medal for the part they played in the liberation of France in 1944.

“I didn’t really think I had been involved enough in D-Day to get the award, but I wrote and said what we had done and I am pleased to receive it,” he said.

A visual signalman in the Royal Navy, Colin was on board HMS Louis, part of the patrol keeping the Channel clear of U-boats.

“We ran five a breast patrolling the Channel with anti-U-boat sweeps after the invasion started,” said Colin.

“Getting this medal has brought back memories of our time there.

“We came under fire; Cherbourg was cut off, but the Germans occupied the fort.

“Louis was the senior ship, but it was the Inglis on the edge that took most of the bombardment. We had to turn 90 degrees and get out.”

The role played by Colin and his fellow seamen was integral to the success of the Normandy invasion.

It is for this reason, when the French Government announced last year it was to honour D-Day veterans in this way they wanted to include those from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in these support roles.

“We must never forget the heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France, said French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann in the letter accompanying the award.

“We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.”

This is not the first time Colin has been honoured in recent years for his wartime service.

Earlier this year, he Ushakov Medal from the Russian Government and in 2013 the Arctic Star for his role in the Arctic convoys.

He said: “These are the most important to me. Churchill described the convoys as ‘the worst trips in the world’ and he wasn’t far off.”

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