Uproar over medal mistake disgrace for Fareham war hero

D-Day veteran Ted Turner with his Legion d'Honneur medal  ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151824-8580)
D-Day veteran Ted Turner with his Legion d'Honneur medal ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151824-8580)
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  • War hero from Fareham dies before he can receive top French honour for his courage during the Second World War
  • It comes as delays and mistakes are revealed over the way French authorities have delivered the medals
  • Widow now tells of her anguish over the errors which left her husband without the accolade
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THE widow of a war hero has told of her anguish after the French government failed to honour her husband’s courage before he died.

Ron Walsh was in line to be awarded France’s highest military honour – the Legion d’Honneur – for his heroism during D-Day.

We just can’t believe it. It’s annoying more than sad.

Widow Jean Walsh, 85

But French authorities were unable to present the 95-year-old with his medal before his death.

Mr Walsh’s 85-year-old wife Jean, of St Anne’s Grove in Fareham, said: ‘We just can’t believe it. It’s annoying more than sad.

‘He put in for the medal straight away and he never got it.

‘He did everything that the medal was for. To hear that some veterans have been given two medals is very annoying.’

Mr Walsh died in September and his funeral is due to take place later this month.

He served on 55 ships during his 33-year career in the Royal Navy, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer in 1969.

In a twist, a fellow D-Day veteran and Legion d’Honneur recipient Ted Turner, of Purbrook, has told how the French mistakenly posted a second medal to him last week.

Mr Turner, who collected his medal in March at a ceremony in London, has branded the error ‘a disgrace’.

The former Royal Marine, of Stakes Road, Purbrook, said: ‘It’s an insult to veterans.

‘I can’t believe they are sending a medal of this importance out in the post.’

The medals were originally designed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

The French had urged surviving D-Day veterans to apply for the accolade last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion.

But delays arose when more than 3,000 applied for it – far exceeding the hundreds predicted.

The News has approached the French Embassy for a comment but it was unable to respond before the paper went to press.