Lowestoft war veteran is presented with prestigious military medal
- Credit: Archant
He was responsible for recovering and repairing vehicles from the battlefield during the Second World War.
And now, 93-year-old Peter Hemp has been presented with the prestigious Légion d'honneur medal – France's highest military honour – for his bravery and service.
Councillor Stephen Ardley presented the medal to Mr Hemp at the Bethel on July 13, as they were both in the same regiment – Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
Along with his close family members, Mr Hemp was also joined by visitors from French town Plaisir, who were in attendance as part of the town's twinning celebrations.
Mr Ardley said: 'I did 22 years' service with REME and when Mr Hemp found out, he was over the moon and wanted me to present his medal to him.
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'It was a great honour to present him with the Légion d'honneur medal – it should send out a big message to our youngsters about the role people like Mr Hemp played – to enable us to walk free.'
In 2015, France made the decision to award the medal to all surviving Normandy veterans.
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After the presentation in Lowestoft, members of the Plaisir group presented two separate framed certificates to Mr Hemp.
On leaving Morton Road School at the age of 14, Mr Hemp became an apprentice mechanic at Days Garage in Clapham Road – and the skills he gained would later prove invaluable.
Using his mechanical knowledge, he was well suited to a role in the REME where he had to drive a recovery truck towing a trailer full of spares.
After being called up to join the REME, he underwent initial training in Shropshire and was then posted to Stirling, Colchester and Newmarket.
It was in 1944, during the Second World War, that he managed to arrange two spells of 10 days leave to get married. He was 21 and Dorothy was 20 and they tied the knot at St Margaret's Church in Lowestoft.
On being demobbed, Mr Hemp worked at Parry's garage in Oulton Broad for seven years, and then at the Brooke Marine maintenance shop, where he remained until his retirement.