WAR veterans have been presented with the highest decoration in France at a ceremony in Chichester.
Members of the Market Garden Veterans Fraternal gathered at the Council House, in North Street, this morning, for the ceremony.
Captain François Jean, Consul Honoraire of France, presented the veterans with the Chevalier (Knight) degree of the Legion D’Honneur.
Organiser Joe Sealey, one of the recipients, gave a vote of thanks.
Guests included Mrs Susan Pyper, Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, and Chichester mayor Peter Budge.
Mr Sealey said: “We were all members of the Market Garden Veterans Association and Normandy Veterans Association and when they disbanded, we formed the fraternal and continued to meet in Littlehampton four times a year. There are no ranks or regiments, we meet as equals.”
The failed Operation Market Garden, from September 17 to 25, 1944, was an Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War.
It included the famous Battle of Arnhem and an Arnhem Day commemoration for the survivors still takes place annually in Rustington.
Eight members of the fraternal were awarded the medal, Len Butt from Westbourne, James Corrigan from Esher, Den Hosgood from Littlehampton, Len Pease from Horsham, Rob Piper from Southwater, John Riley from Chichester, Joe Sealey from Burgess Hill and Eric Warburton from Worthing.
Among the stories the veterans told was how Eric saved Joe’s life in the war.
“He was one of our medics and he came out and got me when I was badly wounded,” explained Joe.
“Eric saved my life so it is very nice for him to receive this honour.”
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