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March veteran receives French medal

Herbert Flavell with his French Medal ANL-160226-085521009
Herbert Flavell with his French Medal ANL-160226-085521009

A former sailor who supported the D-Day landings is the latest veteran to be honoured by the French Government.

Herbert Flavell was carefully watching for German opposition on board HMS Holmes as it brought troops to the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

Herbert Flavell in his service days ANL-160226-085459009
Herbert Flavell in his service days ANL-160226-085459009

Now he has been presented with the Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur. The French Government is issuing the medals as thanks to the men and women who battled to liberate Europe from the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mr Flavell, 92, of March, said: “I feel honoured and proud to receive the medal.

“I shall wear it with pride on Remembrance Day.”

Mr Flavell volunteered to join the navy in November 1941.

He was a leading radar operator and initially served on board the merchant ship, the Queen of Bermuda.

Mr Flavell then went onto join HMS Uganda, which was hit by a 2,000lb rocket and had to be towed to Malta in 1943.

He said: “We were saved by damage control but quite a few people drowned.”

Mr Flavell later joined HMS Holmes, which took part in the largest European invasion fleet as part of Operation Overlord.

He said: “We were very lucky on D-Day. It was not as bad as we thought it was going to be as we had air superiority.

“I was in the radar room checking on the position of the ship and for any German motor torpedoes.”

After D-Day, Mr Flavell spent the rest of the war on Atlantic Crossings before being demobbed in 1946.

After the war, Mr Flavell went on to work in the brewing industry before getting a job with Drambuie.

Mr Flavell was married to Constance, who died in 1989.

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