Chesterfield war hero Frank Mellor, 99, awarded France's highest military honour

A Second World War hero has been presented with France's highest military honour.

Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:50 pm
Updated Monday, 16th January 2017, 10:26 am
War hero Mr Mellor.
War hero Mr Mellor.

Frank Mellor, 99, of Chesterfield, received the Legion d’honneur in a special ceremony on Friday.

The medal was awarded to Mr Mellor by Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Honorary French Consul for the East Midlands, in front of his family, friends, the Mayor of Chesterfield, members of the borough council and representatives from the armed forces.

Mr Mellor said: “I’m very honoured to have received the Legion d’honneur.”

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Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Honorary French Consul for the East Midlands, presents the Legion d'honneur to Mr Mellor.

Mr Mellor joined the Sherwood Foresters for basic training at Normanton Barracks, Derby, on January 15, 1940.

On completion he served in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as various places in England.

He was briefly commandeered by the Seaforth Highlanders and sailed to France landing 7km from Arromanches.

After marching to Arromanches, Mr Mellor and his comrades were commandeered by the 6th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment who moved south east towards the town of Caen.

Mr Mellor and the many guests for the special presentation at the town hall.

They were then commandeered by the 1st Leicestershire Regiment.

Mr Mellor wore the cap badge of the Leicestershire Regiment and was a Private First Class, Bren gun, Sten gun and two-inch mortar operator.

He was part of the Battle of Le Havre between September 5 and 12, 1944.

The battalion then moved into Belgium accompanied by a Polish armoured unit.

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The armoured unit would travel in their tank’s while the infantry would walk.

As they moved through Belgium, the battalion came under heavier attacks from a dug in defensive enemy.

In 1944 and 1945, the battalion was involved in pushing the Germans back in Holland in Nijmegen, Arnhem and Ede where fierce fighting occurred and Mr Mellor suffered a shrapnel injury to his left hip, left elbow and forearm.

He recovered in hospital in Ostend.

Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Honorary French Consul for the East Midlands, presents the Legion d'honneur to Mr Mellor.

On recovery, he re-joined his unit in Iserlohn in the newly-established west Germany.

He was demobilised on March 7, 1946, when he returned to Chesterfield to be reunited with his heavily-pregnant wife, Doris.

Mr Mellor worked at Ireland Colliery in Staveley.

He has two children, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His wife, Doris died in 1999.

Mr Mellor was awarded the Legion d’honneur in the mayor’s parlour at Chesterfield town hall.

Mr Mellor and the many guests for the special presentation at the town hall.
Our Pride campaign aims to highlight all the very best about this part of the world and celebrate the good things going on in the area.