Mr Jouyet said: “It is a very great honour for me to be on board HMS Belfast, the Royal Navy cruiser that took part in Operation Neptune, to express our country’s full appreciation and gratitude to soldiers who helped liberate France during the Second World War."
Four veterans were awarded the Légion d’Honneur:
Charles Kavanagh, 92, was an Able Seamen aboard a Landing Craft. Mr Kavanagh helped to land tanks on Sword beach on D-Day and was subsequently involved in landing supplies for the US Army on Omaha beach.
Patrick Reardon, 93, served on HMS Sheffield. He volunteered for D-Day in the role of Forward Observation Bombardment, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, arriving in Caen some weeks later.
John Nicholls, 93, served on HMS Argonaut on D-Day as a Leading Seaman. He fired on and destroyed German gun batteries on Normandy and drove landing craft from ship-to-shore delivering troops and supplies.
"A lot of the things that occurred at that time are lost to people’s memories now especially the relationship between members of a ship’s company – you become more than mates, you share things," Denis Haley said.
"It was my whole life for nearly four years.
"It’s a very, very, very special day today. I’m absolutely overwhelmed."