Gosport veteran receives French medal for effort during war

Arthur Light with his Legion D'Honneur medal ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151584-5947)
Arthur Light with his Legion D'Honneur medal ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151584-5947)
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  • Arthur Light has been given the Legion D’honneur for his time serving with the merchant navy
  • He was just 14 when he signed up during the Second World War
  • He says he is proud to be given the medal
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WHEN he was 14, Arthur Light wasn’t at school or playing football, he was supporting the war effort.

And for his time spent as a Cabin Boy and Efficient Deck Hand he has been honoured with the Legion D’honneur.

The Legion D’honneur is the highest accolade I have ever received so I am very proud to have it

Arthur Light

The French medal is the highest honour the country can give to a non-French citizen and is given to people who helped with the Liberation of France during the Second World War.

Arthur, who lives in Gosport, said he was delighted to receive the medal for the months he spent at sea with the merchant navy.

The 87-year-old said: ‘The Legion D’honneur is the highest accolade I have ever received so I am very proud to have it.

‘I feel very honoured. It was a big surprise because I had almost given up on it where it had been so long.

‘But it is nice to know that the work done by the Merchant Navy during D-Day is appreciated.’

Arthur travelled to Normandy to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year. It was there he first heard about the possibility of receiving the medal.

More than a year later, he got a letter from the French ambassador confirming he would get the medal.

He added: ‘It was a wonderful feeling.’

Arthur served onboard THPV Lionheart – a converted trawler.

He signed up when he was 14 and started out cleaning up after the men on the boat. But a few months later he moved up to a Cabin Boy and then an Efficient Deck Hand. He went on to sail the motor boarding boats used to take pilots from THPV Lionheart to the convoy ships.

Arthur said: ‘We would sail through the channel and had a strict route to take which had been swept of mines.

‘German torpedo boats would often try to attack the convoys in the English Channel and a lot of the boats were sunk.’

Arthur went on to serve in the Royal Navy.