Scottish war veteran gets highest French military honour

Scottish war veteran William McLaughlin has received the highest French military honour, in recognition of his role in the Normandy Landings in 1944.

The Legion dhonneur is Frances top military medal. Picture: Getty
The Legion dhonneur is Frances top military medal. Picture: Getty

Mr McLaughlin, 92, was given the Ordre National Legion d’honneur by the French Consul at a ceremony in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire.

He first made a symbolic journey from the town’s war memorial to the care home where he lives.

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His daughter, Sandra McLaughlin, said the family was “bursting with pride”.

The Ordre National Legion d’honneur, known in English as the National Order of the Legion of Honour or Legion of Honour Award, was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803.

The Government of France offers the award to all surviving veterans of the D-Day 

Mr McLaughlin was 18 years old when he was conscripted into the Royal Navy.

About 30 naval cadets and a military piper accompanied Mr McLaughlin in a procession from the war memorial in Tullibody to the ceremony at the Orchard Care Home where he lives.

In April this year nine Scottish veterans who took part in the D-Day landings were awarded with the Légion D’Honneur at a special ceremony in Glasgow.

John Mitchell, 91, from Galston in Ayrshire, who was a wireless operator in the Royal Corps of Signals and who landed on the second day of the Normandy landings, was honoured at the ceremony. He was charged with sending back coded messages which were then transmitted to battleships in the Channel.

Bill Ward, also 91, who served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, arrived on the beaches on D-Day.

Others who were honoured included Hugh Ewart, of the Royal Marine Commando Army; Gilbert Gray, Geoffrey Payne and Anthony Staples, of the Royal Air Force; James Chalmers, of the Royal West Surrey Regiment; James Kirkwood, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy; and Iain Cameron, from the Royal West Surrey Regiment.