The Légion d’honneur is the most esteemed order for servicemen and women who fought to protect France in times of war. Awarded by the French Government, the latest medals have been presented in recognition of those who helped to win France’s liberation from the Nazis during the course of the Second World War.
Jim, who is also a lifelong caravanner and a member of The Camping and Caravanning Club for more than 50 years, was presented with his medal by the French Consul to Yorkshire, Jeremy Burton. On average, just ten British nationals receive the medal each year.
Speaking about his wartime exploits, wife Rita who attended the ceremony with Jim said: “I feel very proud that Jim has been recognised in this way. He served over seven years during and shortly after the war. On D-Day he was on Sword Beach unloading ammunition. I’m proud his actions have been recognised.”
Upon returning home, Jim took up more leisurely pursuits and became an active member of The Camping and Caravanning Club. Jim sat on the Club’s National Council – effectively its board of governors – plus various committees and has enjoyed decades of happy caravanning.
Well known within the Club for his spirit of adventure, in 1988 Jim camped for the first time in a tent and completed his Camping Club Youth Test – at the age of 70!
Jim continued to go caravanning, along with wife Rita, until just three years ago. He remains the Vice President of the British Caravan Club, the latest in a long line of titles held by the former soldier.
Jim said: “In my 14 years as Chairman of the Club’s Communications Committee I spent lots of time recruiting new Club members at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre. I have so many great memories of my time with the Club.”
Darren Whittington, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Membership Services Director, said: “Jim’s brave endeavours on D-Day and his heroic efforts over subsequent days before being picked up by a naval destroyer, have rightly earned him this medal, the highest honour bestowed by the French Government.
“His achievements and hard work for The Camping and Caravanning Club must also be commended. He is one of our true ‘golden members’.”