Many veteran members will still be waiting anxiously for news of their promised Legion d'Honneur awards. So far we know of only one TECT member who has received the award, Percy Beake.
TECT, aided by individuals and by other agencies representing WW2 veterans has made efforts to speed up the awards process. Letter have been written to local MPs, to the Minister responsible for veterans, to the Secretary of State for Defence and to No.10: no stone has been left unturned! There has been a brief debate in the House of Commons but it is evident that the Minister concerned had been briefed by the Ministry of Defence, who are coordinating the awards process in the UK, so nothing new was revealed.
Then I discovered that all of the Canadian awards had already been made, some by the French Ambassador in person!
I was about to write another letter to my MP when he sent me a reply that he had received from the Rt.Hon Earl Howe PC, Minister of State for Defence, House of Lords. Earl Howe explains how the French authorities had underestimated the numbers of likely applicants for the award and gives assurances that everything is being done to hasten the awards process. No mention is made of the report from Canada.
I intend to reply to my MP, again reporting the Canadian experience. We are, after all, the Entente Cordiale Trust. Surely we can get some friendly response from France, if not from the MoD.
Meanwhile, the Rev George Wood, formerly of 263 Squadron, has, at the age of 93, determined that he will travel to Brittany later this year. There he will present his Legion d'Honneur (if he receives it in time) to the people of Carantec, near Roscoff, where he was shot down and then helped to escape in 1943. I hope that TECT will be present at that event, so watch this space!