Derbyshire D-Day hero presented with France’s highest military honour

D-Day hero Ron Oxley is presented with his medal by Warrant Officer Iain Cornish, of the Royal Navy. Picture by Jason Chadwick.
D-Day hero Ron Oxley is presented with his medal by Warrant Officer Iain Cornish, of the Royal Navy. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

A D-Day hero has been presented with France’s highest military honour – 71 years after the Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy.

Ron Oxley, who was born in Holmewood and lived in Bramley Vale for more than 60 years, received the Legion d’honneur earlier this week.

Mr Oxley, Mr Cornish and three generations of the D-Day hero's family - Ian Oxley, Dawn Levett and Seth Oxley. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

Mr Oxley, Mr Cornish and three generations of the D-Day hero's family - Ian Oxley, Dawn Levett and Seth Oxley. Picture by Jason Chadwick.

The 93-year-old – one of the few surviving British veterans of the D-Day landings – said: “It is a great honour and I accept it on behalf of all servicemen who took part in fighting for freedom.”

Mr Oxley, who served as a petty officer in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, survived the horrors of Omaha Beach – the most intensely fought battle of the D-Day landings.

There were thousands of Allied casualties with German forces having built formidable defences on the cliffs above.

Mr Oxley’s ship, LCT 727, ferried American ambulances to Omaha Beach – and came under heavy fire.

Fortunately, nobody was injured on the ship.

Last year, the French Government announced it would give its highest military honour to all surviving Normandy veterans. In a letter to Mr Oxley, France’s ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann wrote: “I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War. 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 because you were ready to risk your life.”

Mr Oxley was awarded the Legion d’honneur during a special presentation at the Ackroyd Clinic care home in Rotherham, where the hero resides.