Published: Tuesday, 21st June 2016
A west Norfolk veteran who participated in the D-Day landings was presented with France’s highest decoration.
Harry Bowdery was presented with the National Order of the Legion of Honour by Cllr David Whitby, Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk. Mr Bowdery was presented with his medal at a tea party held in his honour in the Mayor’s Parlour, at 2:30pm on 14 June, with his family and the mayor and mayoress in attendance.
On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, the president of France announced that the honour would be awarded to all British veterans who fought for the liberation of France during the Second World War. Mr Bowdery, 90, has received the honour for his valour in the Normandy D-Day landings in June 1944. Mr Bowdery served with the Royal Navy, and made three landings on Omaha beach. He operated the ramp on the landing craft to let troops off onto the beach before returning to the ship to collect more, at the age of just 18.
Mr Bowdery was unable to attend a previous ceremony held at the French embassy, and so he asked that he be formally presented with his medal by the mayor. Cllr David Whitby said: “It is very humbling to hear about what Harry faced all those years ago and I consider it an honour and a privilege to be able to formally present Harry with his decoration 72 years on”.
The National Order of the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur) was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
It is France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit.