D-Day Veteran Awarded France's Highest Military Medal

A 93-year-old British veteran has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur for his role in the D-Day landings.

A British veteran has been awarded the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest military medal, for his role in the D-Day landings in the Second World War.

Ninety-three-year-old Dennis Scott served with the Royal Artillery and landed on Sword Beach in June 1944, tasked with supporting the Durham Light Infantry as they fought their way off the beaches and through the Bocage of Normandy.

Mr Scott, who lives with his German wife Freida in Cyprus, said:

"The machine gun fire that was going above us was very heavy and I remember saying, 'I'm not moving from here...it's deadly up there'. 

"[The] most frightening thing was mortar fire and they had a mortar called 'Nebelwerfer'...but there would be a lot of them so the sky was literally raining mortar and they were much more frightening."

Mr Scott during his military days
Mr Scott during his military days.

As the Wehrmacht tried to flee back across the River Seine the RAF destroyed the bridges.

Mr Scott remembers seeing German lorries pile up, unable to cross and exposed to allied bombers.

"We sat on top of a ridge there, watching and hearing 200 vehicles being fired and fellas screaming - it was terrible," he explained.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'what's it all about?'"

Four months after D-Day, the Allies launched Operation Market Garden around the Dutch village of Arnhem but the airborne assault turned out to be a disaster. 10,000 troops landed - 1,400 were killed and 6,000 captured.

The Operation ended Mr Scott's D-Day campaign after a pack of shells blew him into a stack of wood, leaving his back in a "mess" and the right side of his ribs "crushed". 

Mr Scott spent four months in hospital but later returned to the military, serving in post-war Germany.

He was demobbed in 1947 and went on to having a successful textile business.

Mr Scott at the presentation.
Mr Scott at the presentation.

Seventy-four years after D-Day, Mr Scott's bravery was formally recognised by the French Government.

Rather than being asked to travel all the way to Paris, France came to Limassol in the form of the frigate Auvergne which had been carrying out operations in the Mediterranean. 

On board the ship Mr Scott was given the Legion d'Honneur by the French Ambassador. 

"I really thought it was going to be in a parcel coming in the post," he joked.

Mr Scott gave a speech on the ship, finishing by turning to the French Ambassador and saying "merci beaucoup". 

Speaking to Forces News, Mr Scott said: "It wasn't just for me was it? It was representative of everybody who was there.

"It was a fantastic evening and I appreciated it massively."