A very proud and emotional ceremony took place recently aboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth.
Three Royal Navy veterans from the Ferndown Branch of the Royal Naval Association (RNA) were presented with their Ordre National de La Legion D’Honneur medals for their part in the ‘D’ Day operations.
The award of chevalier (knight) was presented to shipmates Bob Barnett, Ron Cunningham and Charles Grant in Lord Nelson’s cabin by former First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, GCB DL, on behalf of the French Government.
After the ceremony, the three ‘knights’, with their families and friends, were received in Captain Hardy’s cabin by the current Commanding Officer of HMS Victory, Lieutenant-Commander Brian Smith, and members of the Victory’s crew.
All three veterans expressed immensely nostalgic sentiments of the occasion, and spoke of the comrades they’d lost, on whose behalf they wore their medals.
The shipmates also received the recognition of their local community when the Mayor of Ferndown, Cllr Mrs Julie Robinson met them at a recent mess-night in their RNA HQ at St Ives and St Leonards Ex-Services Club. At the private gathering, the mayor congratulated Charles, Ron and Bob on their awards and complimented Ferndown RNA for the arrangements they had co-ordinated to mark the awards these heroes had received.