Up to seven British veterans of the 1945 D-Day invasion of Europe are to be honoured during the annual Remembrance Day Commemorations at the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial in Elvington on Sunday 8 November.
The President of France has authorised the Légion d’Honneur – France’s highest decoration – to be awarded to those who helped free Europe and liberate France during World War ll.
The annual Remembrance Day Commemorations at Elvington are unique in Britain in acknowledging the people of many countries who fought alongside our country during both world wars.
In particular they acknowledge the 2,300 French airmen who formed the only two French heavy bomber squadrons of the war.
Both squadrons were based at RAF Elvington near York, now the home of the Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial.
Fifty-one per cent of their young aircrews were killed in action in just nine months while based at Elvington.
Their return to France to form the new French Air Force exactly 70 years ago this month (20 and 29 October) was commemorated with a large military event in Bordeaux on Thursday 8 October.
The events on Sunday 8 November begin at 11am at the French Memorial on York Road, Elvington, where hundreds of villagers, supporters, veterans and children from across the UK and France will march.
A special public service of remembrance and wreath laying ceremony takes place at 1.30pm at the Yorkshire Air Museum and will be attended by representatives of the RAF, French Air Force and other countries. During the service the Honorary French Consul, Jeremy Burton, will award the British veterans the Légion d’Honneur on behalf of the French president.
The Museum and memorial at Elvington is located on the largest original WWll Bomber Command Station open to the public in Britain and is acknowledged as the Allied Air Forces Memorial in Europe.