FRENCH dignitaries presented two Second World War veterans from Chorley with the country’s highest honour.
Stanley Dickinson, 93, and George Clarke, 95, were chosen to receive a special medal called The Legion of Honour at Chorley Town Hall.
The Legion of Honour, or the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, is the highest French order for military and civil merits, established 1802 by French military and political leader Napoléon Bonaparte.
Its equivalent in the UK is the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration in the British honours system.
The Honorary French Consul Philip Daniel travelled to Chorley from Liverpool to present the medals to both veterans.
“It was a great honour and I welcome it wholeheartedly for our part in being in France while the hostilities were at their height,” said Mr Clarke, who lives in Euxton.
Mr Dickinson went ashore in France eight days after D-Day but was injured within 48 hours.
“I was patched up by army doctors and nurses and flown back to the UK where I spent six months in rehab,” he said.
“It’s very humbling to receive such an honour. It came unexpectedly.”
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “Chorley has a proud history with veterans from nearly every modern conflict, ranging from recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through to the heroes of World War II like Stanley.
“Over the years I have facilitated and helped veterans and their families access medals for service with our allies including medals for the Arctic Convoys but this is the first time we’ve seen a hero from Chorley awarded the Legion D’honneur.
“The highest honour of the French Republic.
“It was particularly poignant that this award ceremony took place only days after Armistice Day.
“I was delighted to attend and to see the Deputy French Consul.”
Chorley and District Ex-Servicemen’s Association organised the event chairman Eric Bell said: “It is the highest medal the French award to those in the army or civilians alike and dates back to Bonaparte.
“It’s a big honour to these lads. The chamber was full with the friends and family of the men who were honoured.”
Organisers flew the French flag from the town hall for the duration of the day specially for the occasion.
Chorley mayor CounDoreen Dickinson also attended the ceremony as did representatives from the military.