Bro Neville Foote, honorary member of Bury Lodge of Relief, No. 42, has been made a Chevalier Ordre National de la Legion D’honneur (Knight of the National Order of Merit Legion D’Honner) by the French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Sylvie Bermann, at a ceremony held in Kensington Palace Gardens on Wednesday 9th December 2015.
Neville, a Lance Bombardier in the 79th Scottish Horse Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, landed on Juno Beach, along with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, 3 Canadian Division, on 6th June 1944, D-Day.
Of this Neville says “We were very pleased to be able to fight our way ashore, starting the liberation of France…” Whilst on mainland Europe Neville and his colleagues pushed all the way to Germany. On V.E. Day he was in Bremerhaven. Along that heroic road with horrors that I cannot even begin to imagine they liberated so many desperate people including the prisoners in Belson concentration camp.
Sylvie Bermann, The French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, said this of Neville, “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”.
The order is the highest decoration in France and was bestowed upon Neville for his actions during World War 2. To put into context so we may better understand, the United Kingdom’s highest decoration for military action is the Victoria Cross, for civilian action it is the George Cross. So you can see, this order is truly more honourable than the Garter.
The Cross and Eagle of the Order was worn by Napoleon Bonaparte who created the order in 1802. Other recipients of the Ordre National de la Legion D’Honner have been George Callaghan (Admiral of the Fleet), Air Chief Marshall Sir Augustus Walker, George S Patton (U.S. army General), also Sir Paul McCartney and J.K. Rowling. Neville is among distinguished company indeed.
Neville, born in 1920, a local Bury lad born and bred, is the eldest member of Bury Lodge of Relief joining in 1969. He is now an Honorary member of the lodge.
Congratulations abound to you Neville. I cannot find the words to describe how proud your colleagues of Bury Lodge of Relief, the District, Province, in fact all masons, the country and Europe are to be associated with a hero such as yourself.
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