D-Day hero is honoured with medal for his efforts

Bill Wake at the ceremony with loved ones and French Consul Eric Donjon.
Bill Wake at the ceremony with loved ones and French Consul Eric Donjon.
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A proud D-Day hero from Ulgham has been presented with France’s highest military honour.

Royal Navy veteran Bill Wake, 91, received the Légion d’Honneur at a ceremony in Newcastle on Tuesday evening.

The accolade recognises the selfless acts of heroism and determination displayed by all surviving British veterans of the Normandy landings, and of the wider campaigns to liberate France from the Nazis in the Second World War.

The great-grandfather was delighted and honoured to be presented with the accolade by Eric Donjon, French Consul, at the Royal Engineer Barracks in Newcastle.

Bill said: “I feel very proud to receive this award. A lot of memories came to mind of the people who also could have been presented with this award. It is very kind of the French government to hand out these medals.”

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he was on a landing craft dropping off men and supplies on Juno Beach as a sick-bay attendant and taking wounded back to the Royal Naval Hospital at Hasler.

Later, he was sent to Sydney, Australia, to work at the Naval Hospital looking after those injured fighting the Japanese and was still there after the war ended looking after injured men and also women released from internment by the Japanese.

After war service in 1946, he trained to be a pharmacist, eventually having his own practice in Red Row and Hadston, until he retired.