Veteran given hon­our for role in Nor­mandy

French ac­co­lade pre­sented to Peter

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - by Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­

A 92-YEAR-OLD World War Two veteran from Hilling­don was hon­oured with France’s high­est ac­co­lade for his role in the Nor­mandy land­ings, ahead of Re­mem­brance Sun­day.

Peter Ch­es­ney was given the Le­gion d’Hon­neur at Hilling­don Hospi­tal on Thurs­day Novem­ber 3 af­ter his sur­geon learned of his heroic past and con­tacted the French Em­bassy, in London.

Mr Ch­es­ney joined the mil­i­tary aged 18 and took part in the Bat­tle of Caen in the sum­mer of 1944 and fought through Hol­land and into Ger­many.

The veteran, who lives in a Ruis­lip care home, said: “I knew that I’d have to join the ser­vices when I was 18, and I was called over to Ac­ton to reg­is­ter. I wanted to join the RAF be­cause they had a shirt and tie – but they were full.

“Ev­ery­one wanted to join the RAF.”

In­stead, Mr Ch­es­ney was called up to 109 Bat­tery, 33 Field Reg­i­ment The Royal Ar­tillery in 1943, and was paid three shillings a day.

The French govern­ment de­cided in 2014 to hon­our the ser­vice of all Bri­tish vet­er­ans who helped lib­er­ate Nor­mandy by pre­sent­ing them with the Le­gion d’Hon­neur.

His only re­main­ing de­sire was to re­ceive this medal be­fore he died be­cause it cant be awarded posthu­mously”

Alis­tair My­ers, con­sul­tant col­orec­tal sur­geon at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, re­cently per­formed surgery on Mr Ch­es­ney and he learned of his time in the Army.

Mr My­ers said: “When we first met he said his only re­main­ing de­sire was to re­ceive this medal be­fore he died be­cause it can’t be awarded posthu­mously.

“It meant so much to him.

“He has no liv­ing rel­a­tives and this is re­ally the last thing he wanted to achieve in his life.”

Mr My­ers con­tacted the Min­istry of De­fence and the French Em­bassy and the medal was sent to the hospi­tal, where Mr Ch­es­ney was re­cov­er­ing from his surgery.

The cer­e­mony was at­tended by the Mayor of Hilling­don John Hens­ley, May­oress Diane Hens­ley and Mr My­ers.

AC­CO­LADE: Peter Ch­es­ney (cen­tre) was given a French hon­our for his ser­vice in World War Two; (above) pic­tured with Mayor and May­oress John and Diane Hens­ley and Alis­tair My­ers

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