Légion d’honneur for Peterborough World War II veteran

Residents / 23 Jan 2017

A Peterborough war veteran will be awarded the Légion d’honneur for his service in the liberation of France in the Second World War.

Proud Mr Eddie Hall, of Gunthorpe, will be presented with the prestigious accolade on behalf of the French government by Jean-Claude Lafontaine, the regional Consul Honoraire de France in the presence of Mayor of Peterborough Cllr David Sanders and Peterborough City Council Leader Cllr John Holdich.

Mr Hall, now aged 91, was just a teenager when he took to the English Channel in his role as a Royal Navy able seaman positioned on a motor torpedo boat.

As a radar operator he was tasked with providing the war ships with protection from sea attack ahead of the D-Day landings in 1944.

Mr Hall said: "I remember being briefed on departure that we were going into action and some of us would return and some would not. My heart sank into my boots when I heard this however there was a job to be done.

"I spent my time below the deck of the torpedo boat operating the radar and on one occasion we intercepted a group of frogmen who were attacking larger war ships. All I could hear was the sound of guns going off and our captain shouting out orders."

The French government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur to D-Day veterans as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War.

Mr Hall added: “I am very proud and very honoured to receive the award, the highest distinction given by the French government."

Mr Hall has lived his life in Peterborough and married his wife Dorothy at St Mark’s Church, in Lincoln Road, Peterborough, in September 1945.

Now a great grandfather, Mr Hall spent 40 years working for Baker Perkins in Peterborough. He was a keen sportsman in his younger days and played for football, hockey and bowls clubs in the city.

The presentation will take place at Peterborough Town Hall and Armed Forces Champion Councillor John Fox, Councillor Judy Fox and Peterborough City Council Chief Executive Gillian Beasley will also be attendance.

The Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor David Sanders, said: “It will be a privilege to meet Mr Hall and witness him receiving the Légion d’honneur medal for his service in the liberation of France.

"It's an honour for Peterborough to host this ceremony on behalf of the French government.

“We owe our freedom and security to the dedication of heroes like Mr Hall because they were ready to risk their life to liberate their country and its allies from enemy forces."