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