Ken was notified by the MoD that his Legion d’Honneur was to be awarded by the French Embassy.
On the 70th anniversary of D-Day in June 2014, the French President Francois Hollande announced that the Legion d’Honneur would be awarded to all British veterans who fought to liberate France from Nazi occupation between 1944 and 1945. The Legion d’Honneur is recognised internationally as France’s highest distinction and is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit.
Ken was a glider pilot who ferried 60 soldiers in the afternoon of D-Day to Pegasus bridge at the eastern end of the landings. The site can be visited and displays the original bridge as well as a glider.
The Letter from the French Ambassador as follows:
Dear Mr Williamson,
I have the pleasure of informing you that the President of the Republic has appointed you to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur.
I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War.
As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.
I am happy to enclose your insignia of Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur and once again extend to you my heartfelt congratulations.
Since a large number of decorations has to be awarded between now and the end of this year, I shall be unable to present this honour personally to every single veteran. However, if you would like an award ceremony to be organized for you, I invite you to contact your region’s French Honorary Consul, who has been informed and is at your disposal. The Honorary Consuls’ contact details are enclosed with this letter.
Yours sincerely, Sylvie Bermann Ambassade De France Londres 25 May 2016