D-Day heroes get highest honour - The Worcester Observer

D-Day heroes get highest honour

Worcester Editorial 27th Jan, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

TWO BRAVE Worcester D-Day veterans have been awarded France’s highest honour, the Legion d’honneur, in recognition of their service during the Second World War.

War heroes Eric Tipping and Michael Stone received the award on Tuesday (January 26) from the French Honorary Consul Monsieur Robert F. Mille with their family members, comrades and the Mayor of Worcester Coun Roger Knight there to witness the poignant, but humbling occasion.

Born in Worcester in 1926, Eric pretended he was 17-years-old so he could sign up to join the fight against Nazi Germany.

As an infantryman in the Worcestershire Regiment, he joined the 1st Worcester division on the front line in Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of France.

From then on he remained with the battalion throughout the rest of the 1944-45 campaign, during that time he captured a German soldier, confiscated his weapons, and began using the German sub-machine gun and Lugar pistol.

After the war the Eric returned to Worcester and worked for the Co-op for 30 years before retiring and enjoying a well earned rest.

Michael Stone, a former pupil of the Royal Grammar School, first joined the Local Defence Volunteers in May 1940, before moving onto the Home Guard.

As a member of the 53 Medium Regiment, Michael was assigned to the Second Front where he trained in Scotland before crossing the channel to France on D-Day, aged 22.

Following his battles in Normandy, Belgium and southern Holland, he volunteered to train as an Air OP pilot. Michael gained his wings and joined 653 AOP Squadron and served in Germany until demobilisation in 1946.

When the TA was reformed Michael joined the local gunners, then 267 Field Regt.

In 1955 when his work took him away from Worcester he had been a Major commanding Queen Battery in Malvern for five years.

His work was in civil engineering, mostly helping to build motorways.

Later however he was on contracts abroad ranging from Peru to Africa to Indonesia, eventually retiring at 73 from his last job in Devon.

Michael was married for 53 years. On his wife’s death in 1999 a return to Worcester was inevitable.

The award Worcester’s veterans received, the Legion d’honneur, is the highest decoration in France which was first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

The order’s motto is “Honneur et Patrie” (“Honour and Fatherland”) and its seat is the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris.

And in 2014 the French President Francois Hollande pledged to bestow all surviving British veterans with the award.


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