French honour for delighted Upminster Bridge veteran
PUBLISHED: 15:00 29 November 2015
More than 70 years after the Normandy Landings, a 91-year-old man has received a medal for his war effort.
Edward Humphries, of Doncaster Way, Upminster Bridge, was “delighted” to be recognised for his contribution to the Second World War which came in the shape of the Légion d’honneur – a medal and letter of thanks from Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador.
He said: “I applied for it earlier this year so didn’t expect it to arrive but when it did I was happy.
“I’m still very proud of what I did over there.”
Edward joined the 53rd Medium Artillery Regiement as a gunner when he was 18. He was based in London until he was flown to Juno Beach in Normandy to assist in commencing the operation to liberate France from Germany’s control.
Within three months of the invasion, the northern part of France was freed from its grasp.
Edward said: “At the time of the war, the boys expected that they would have to go off to fight and do their bit because that was what we had to do for our country.
“What I remember when I landed on the coast of Normandy, I landed in a ditch.
“I don’t want to say too much about what I saw while I was there but what I will say is that it was not nice at all.”
After the war, the grandfather-of-two was transferred to the 6th Field Regiment and later posted to Egypt.
He will be displaying his medal and letter in pride of place on his living room mantelpiece for everyone to see.
Jill Wells, Edward’s daughter, said: “He doesn’t get a lot of visitors to his house but when he does he shows off his medal to them.
“I am very proud of him and what he did to help us win the war.”
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