A D-Day war veteran has been presented with the Legion d’Honneur by the French Government for the role he played in liberating France in the Second World War.
Ray Mellors, who is a patient at Nottinghamshire Hospice in Mapperley, has been awarded France’s highest honour by Jean Claude Lafontaine, Honorary Consul for France in the East Midlands.
Mr Lafontaine came to the hospice to with the medal, and it was kept as a surprise for Ray, 93, who took part in the Normandy landings 75 years ago.
Ray, who landed on Sword beach in Normandy three days after D-Day in 1944, said: “I knew something was happening today but I had no idea it would be this big. I’m really honoured. I’ll treasure this, not just for me but for those who didn’t make it back.”
Ray, with others from the South Staffordshire Regiment, was heavily involved in the liberation of Caen before moving further into France and on to Belgium. He later joined Blackwatch regiment and took part in the Rhine crossing.
Before pinning the medal on Ray, the Consul said: “This is a tremendous opportunity to say thank you to Ray and to his generation for what they’ve done. It is a way to celebrate the heroes of our society and to celebrate Ray’s bravery in World War II to make us free.
“I believe you have visited the place you landed, and the place you liberated, Caen. For anyone who has visited Caen we can appreciate how hard it must have been and how much we owe you.”
Ray’s daughters Sharon and Carol came to the hospice for the ceremony, Carol said: “It was a wonderful occasion for Dad and indeed us, we are very proud of him and he revelled in all the attention.”