Veteran Danny given Legion D’Honneur in King’s Lynn ceremony
A D-Day veteran, whose ship fired more than 1,000 shells in the operation that began the liberation of western Europe, has received France’s highest honour.
As an 18-year-old, Samuel Daniels, known as Danny, was one of tens of thousands of men who took part in the invasion of Nazi-occupied France in June 1944.
Now 93, he has been awarded the Legion D’Honneur in recognition of his contribution to the campaign.
Members of his family, together with military leaders and veterans’ representatives, were at the presentation, at Lynn’s Sea Cadet headquarters last Friday.
And he revealed that his mother had played a key role in him joining up.
He said: “I got my call-up papers and I said I was going to see if I didn’t have to go, but she said ‘You’ve got to serve the country. You have to go and join the navy.’”
Once enlisted, Danny served on HMS Ramillies which fired a total of 1,002 shells over two weeks from when the operation began on June 6, 1944.
During the campaign, the ship was hit once by enemy fire and came close to being torpedoed.
Danny said he felt the honour was not just for him.
He said: “I was one of the young guys who came back. There were a lot who didn’t.
Originally from Wakefield, Danny was posted to Lynn shortly before the end of the war and has remained in the town ever since.
Borough mayor Carol Bower, who made the presentation, said she was “deeply honoured” to present the medal.
The French government has been awarding the honour to all surviving veterans of the D-Day operation since its 70th anniversary four years ago.
Mrs Bower said: “On behalf of the president of France, the borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, the county and indeed the whole country, we offer you our heartfelt thanks and congratulations.”