Essex Second World War veteran awarded France’s highest distinction for role in liberating France

Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex is presented with the Légion d’Honneur. Pi

Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex is presented with the Légion d’Honneur. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A man from Great Bentley in Essex has been awarded France’s highest military honour for his role in the liberation of France in the Second World War.

Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex is presented with the Légion d’Honneur. Pi

Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex is presented with the Légion d’Honneur. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Tony Rampling landed on the beaches of Normandy with 61st Reconnaissance Regiment in June 1944.

The unit’s armoured cars made up a vital piece of the vanguard as German forces were pushed back across Northern France and Belgium.

Tony Rampling salutes Col Antonie de Loustal. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Tony Rampling salutes Col Antonie de Loustal. Picture: GREGG BROWN

He later took part in the ill-fated Arnhem campaign in September 1944 where German forces stopped an armoured column linking up with airborne troops dropped in to capture key bridges across the river Rhine into Germany.

Mr Rampling was presented his honour at a ceremony at Colchester Town Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Colchester Gerard Oxford.

Col Antonie de Loustal awards Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex with the Lég

Col Antonie de Loustal awards Tony Rampling a Second World War veteran from North Essex with the Légion d’Honneur. Picture: GREGG BROWN

His medal was presented by Colonel Antoine de Loustal, the French Army attache in London.

Following the ceremony, Mr Rampling said: “I am very pleased and honoured to receive this medal, which I dedicate to all the chaps I served with who died in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.”

Légion d’Honneur medal. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Légion d’Honneur medal. Picture: GREGG BROWN

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Col de Loustal added: “It’s hugely important for France that we honour all the veterans who helped to liberate France while serving their own country during the Second World War.”

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