Deeside War Hero awarded the National Order of the Legion of Honour – France’s highest award
A Deeside war hero has been bestowed with France’s highest honour with thanks for his bravery and contribution to the country’s liberation during World War Two.
The Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur was presented to Gilbert Butler by his local elected members Carl Sargeant AM and Mark Tami MP at a special ceremony at Llys Eleanor, Shotton, today (Friday).
The 91-year-old was a signalman in the Royal Navy during the conflict. The honour was presented in recognition of services and bravery on the landing craft which came under fire while taking troops onto the Gold and Omaha beaches during the Normandy landings.
The French Government said in a letter accompanying the medal: “As we contemplate this Europe of peace we must never forget the heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication and because you were ready to risk your life.”
Earlier this year Mr Butler received the Ushakov Medal from the Russian Embassy for his role in the Arctic Convoys, a journey described by Winston Churchill as “the worst journey in the world”.
Before moving to Llys Eleanor Mr Butler lived in Dee Road, Connah’s Quay, with his wife Olwen, who sadly passed away last year. Their daughters Margaret Amos, of Connah’s Quay, and Annette Ellis, of Johnstown, said their mother would have been very proud of her husband.
Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant said:
“It’s an honour to present Gilbert with this thoroughly well-deserved medal today on behalf of the French Government.
“I’ve known Gilbert for years and he is truly inspirational in his bravery and humility. To have gone through the horrors of the Arctic Convoys and the Normandy landings is something today we can’t quite fully imagine. For Gilbert to have survived that and then to have come home to his community and carried on contributing fully to it – he is an example to us all.
“With all the dramatic events in the world right now it’s vital that we never forget the sacrifices made on our behalf by Gilbert and others so that we can have peace and freedom. We must never forget the lessons of the past.”
Millions of people from across the UK observed a two-minute to remember the nation’s war dead for Armistice Day.
Around 100 people gathered at Connah’s Quay Cenotaph for the commemorations, they included Lord Barry Jones, Politicians, councilors and children from Ysgol Croes Atti infants school who laid a wreath.
The Reverend Robin Fox led a short service before the Last Post was sounded.
Silence fell at 11:00 – the moment guns fell silent at the end of World War One, on 11 November 1918, the occasion became known as Armistice Day, after the treaty signed between the Allies and Germany after four years of fighting. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com