Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Former Royal Marines awarded the Legion d’honneur for their actions during D-Day

20 January 2016
More than seven decades after he stormed Hitler’s vaunted Atlantic Wall on D-Day former Royal Marine Corporal Wilfred ‘Bill’ Bryant received the thanks of the French people in the form of Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur.

Lieutenant Ian Birdseye Royal Marines who sadly passed away April 2015, was also honored and the medal was presented to his son, Simon. 

Mr Thomas Sidney King MBE, former Leading Aircraftsman Royal Air Force, of Sidmouth was honoured for his efforts during the landings.

Mme Josette Lebrat, French Honorary Consul - Bristol and South West, presented the award to the veterans during the Passing Out Parade of 205 Troop the King’s Squad.

we must never forget the heroes like those honored today, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France

Mme Josette Lebrat, French Honorary Consul - Bristol and South West

Mme Lebrat commented during her address to the Kings squad that, “As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget the heroes like those honored today, 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.”

Bill and Ian joined the Royal Marines back in the 1940’s – at a time when the Corps was around 80,000 strong and had a variety of responsibilities from manning turrets on Royal Navy warships to crewing landing craft, serving as naval infantry and conducting commando raids.

Images taken by LA(Phot) Dean Nixon.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.