A Scissett man who stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day is to be recognised for his bravery by the people he helped to liberate.
Edward Robinson, 92, will be presented with the Legion D’Honneur – France’s highest military and civil merit award – by a representative of the French Embassy at a ceremony to be held on Tuesday, December 2 in Nottingham.
The ceremony will be held at the regimental museum of the South Nottingham Hussars, with whom Mr Robinson served for most of the war.
Mr Robinson, who lives part of the time with his daughter Linda Heeley at Scissett and also in sheltered accommodation in Penistone, has already received the medal – but is not allowed to wear it until it is presented officially.
However, he took it along in its case when Kirklees Mayor Clr Jim Dodds invited the veteran and his family to a reception at Huddersfield Town Hall.
Clr Dodds said: “I felt that it was important that we all recognise this award and honour our unsung heroes who went through so much to ensure our freedom.
“I spoke at length with Mr Robinson about his five years in the army and I was struck by his comment of he was just lucky and others were not. He spoke about his experience during the Normandy landings and feeling machine gun bullets tearing through the sleeves of his uniform – a wonderful man who we all owe so much to.”
Mr Robinson was born in Paisley, Scotland, and enlisted with South Nottingham Hussars in Edinburgh. He was later based at Cawthorne camp where the troops weres trained for D-Day – and where he met his future wife Patricia, who worked with her father as a boot repairer mending the solders’ boots.
Mr Robinson and his comrades later transferred to Tilbury in the run-up to the Normandy invasion. He landed at Gold Beach under intense fire on D-Day and later recalled how one of his comrades joked: “Hold my rifle while I change my wet socks!” as they ran up the beach.
As part of a six-man crew serving a 25-pounder, he was involved in supporting airborne troops in the days following D-Day and in several major actions, including Caen and Le Havre, before being posted to Belgium. In November, 1944, the regiment was summoned to a cinema where they were told by Field Marshal Montgomery that the regiment was to be disbanded.
After the war, he and Patricia settled in Cawthorne, where Mr Robinson worked for some years as bricklayer and later at clay drainage pipe manufacturer Naylors.
The French government has presented the Legion D’Honneur to a number of British veterans in recognition of their efforts to liberate France. Linda said: “My dad thinks it’s a good thing and he’s pleased to be receiving it. It’s a great gesture.”