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Hunstanton D Day veteran presented with top French military medal

PUBLISHED: 11:11 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:03 08 November 2017

D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured at the end of his service in 1947) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured at the end of his service in 1947) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

At just 18-years-old, Roland Worth became a part of living history after he landed on the beaches of Normandy on D Day in 1944.

D-Day veteran Roland Worth has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt D-Day veteran Roland Worth has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

Now 73 years later, Mr Worth has been awarded France’s highest military medal, the Legion d’honneur.

Mr Worth, 91, of Harry’s Way, Hunstanton, was only 17 when he joined the Royal Marines at the end of 1942.

On D Day, Mr Worth, who was serving as a signaller, landed on Gold Beach in the early morning watching many perish before his eyes.

“It was unnerving,” he said.

D-Day veteran Roland Worth has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt D-Day veteran Roland Worth has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

“You didn’t know what you were going in for or if the enemy had good defence. There were hand grenades going off all over the place.”

The only vivid memories Mr Worth has is of the people he came across on his way inland.

Mr Worth added: “There was a little old lady and I told her to get behind the counter.

“I remember postcards on a rack and I said I’d pay for it later but I never did, I feel really guilty about that.

D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured in 1942) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured in 1942) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

“I think it may have been a baker’s shop, there were people milling all around.”

After leaving France, Mr Worth was sent to Liverpool to prepare for his next posting. After being measured for tropical gear he said he knew what he was in for. 
“I came away from France in August and I was consigned to another deployment in the Far East, in early 1945,” he said.

“I travelled to places like Sumatra and the islands there - the Japanese were not inclined to surrender and were keeping hostages in the villages.”

After the war had ended, Mr Worth went back to working as a postman in Northampton, where he grew up, before eventually becoming the general secretary of the Post Office Unions Council in London.

D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured in 1945) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt D-Day veteran Roland Worth (here pictured in 1945) has been awarded the legion D'Honneur. Picture: Ian Burt

Following retirement in 1985, Mr Worth and his wife Jean moved to Hunstanton to live a peaceful life beside the sea.

He had only considered applying for the French Legion of Honour medal last year after colleagues of the Royal Marine Association encouraged him to do so.

Mr Worth will be wearing the medal on Remembrance Sunday along with his other service medals, including the Burma Star.

“Very few people get it, those that have lived through the battle have now since gone,” he added.

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