Veterans receive thanks from French government for bravery in Normandy landings
Two former soldiers have received belated thanks from the French government for their heroic efforts during the Second World War.
Charles “Billy” Copeman, 96, and Aubrey Chilvers, 90, have been made Chevaliers of the National Order of the Legion d’honneur, along with many other D-Day veterans, for their contribution to the liberation of France more than 70 years ago.
Mr Copeman served as a gunner with the Royal Artillery Regiment and Mr Chilvers, who was just 18 at the time of the campaign, was an infantryman with the Royal Norfolk Regiment.
Mr Chilvers was presented with his medal by Brigadier Alasdair Wilson at a ceremony in the Village Centre in Dickleburgh on Saturday while his family, including wife of 65 years Vera and daughter June Frary, looked on.
Ms Frary said: “We are all very proud of him. They are all heroes.”
Both Mr Chilvers and Mr Copeman are long-standing members of the Dickleburgh and District Royal British Legion.
It was the branch’s former chairman, Mick Logan, who applied for the medals on their behalf in July 2014.
Speaking at the ceremony Norman Steer, the branch’s chaplain, said the medals recognised the “heroism and determination” displayed by the D-Day veterans.
“It is an honour for me and for the Dickleburgh branch to present you with France’s highest honour. You have everyone’s grateful thanks for your selfless act,” he said.
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