Yorkshire Normandy vet awarded French Legion of Honour

An East Yorkshire resident is to be awarded France’s highest decoration for service in the Normandy D-day campaign 70 years ago.

Leslie Skelton, of Tickton near Beverly, is to be presented with the Legion d’honneur medal in a special ceremony at the French embassy, London, on the morning of Armistice Day, 11 November this year.

The ceremony was arranged after Mr Skelton’s family contacted Richard Corbett, Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & Humber, to ask for his assistance in tracking down the medal – which appeared to have become lost somewhere in the offices of the French government.

Christopher Skelton, Leslie’s son, said:

“Before I wrote to Richard in my quest for information about the medal, we had contacted all kinds of organisations such as the MOD, the Royal British Legion, Hull Normandy Veterans Association, the Hull Daily Mail, the British embassy in Paris, and the French embassy in London. All of these were sympathetic, but none shed any more light on the matter.”

Richard brought Mr Skelton’s case to the attention of officials in the French foreign office, who were finally able to trace the medal and arrange the award.

Christopher added:

“We owe a debt of gratitude, as beneficiaries of the peace and democracy that we so easily take for granted, to all those who fought in the Second World War. We have a duty to ensure that the knowledge of their sacrifice for our freedom, their story of their deeds, are held in perpetuity.”

Notes for editors

  • The Legion d’honneur, in full Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honour), is the highest decoration in France. It was established by Napoleon and its Grand Master is the President of France.
  • Richard Corbett is a Labour Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire & Humber, and Deputy Leader of the UK Labour MEPs.
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