On 23rd August, Syston man, Dennis North was invested with the highest honour that the French Nation can bestow, in recognition of the part he played in the D Day landings, seventy five years ago.
The ceremony took place at 2.30pm in the Syston Community Centre, in the presence of the Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire Michael Kapur OBE (and in his old classroom from Junior Schooldays long ago), Dennis North was awarded the rank of ‘Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur’ which is the highest honour that is awarded to anyone by the French nation. The award was also presented by Harry Durent of Evington on the same afternoon.
Dennis was escorted by PO (SEA) Stacey Poole and piped into the hall with great ceremony by a highland piper in full ceremonial dress. The Standard Parties from various legions gathered to honour Dennis and Harry and mark the occasion with due pomp and ceremony.
As Dennis’s letter from the French Embassy and presented by the French Consulate for the Midlands, Monsieur Jean-Claude La Fontaine, this high honour is in recognition for ‘your military engagement and steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War.
‘The letter goes on to say ‘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.’
Many local friends, dignitaries including: The Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire; Michael Kapur OBE, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire; Col Murray Colville, Deputy Lieutenants; Mr Richard Brucciani and Dr Richard Hurwood and family members were there to witness this important ceremony and share in this historic event.
Refreshments served after the ceremony at the Social Club on high Street.