24 July 2019

Northampton-born Veteran Mr Albert Allen thought he was visiting County Hall for a tour of the Judges Lodgings and the Courtrooms but he was in for a surprise.

Because what the former Royal Navy officer did not know was that his family had been keeping a secret from him.

The secret was that Mr Allen had been awarded the highest French order of military merit - The Order of National de la Légion d'honneur and the title of Chevalier (Knighthood) for his services in the Royal Navy during 1944.

Mr Allen served as a Commander in the Royal Navy during the Normandy campaign where he signalled Canadian forces to help them land on Juno beach during the D-Day operations.

HM Lord-Lieutenant Mr David Laing presented Mr Allen with the award and said:


This is a medal that is incredibly rare, and rarer now because the men who have received them are now so few but they are incredibly brave men and they are people who we owe a great debt."

The French government has been awarding the Légion d'honneur to D-Day veterans for several years as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France's liberation during the Second World War.

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