D-Day hero who swam against tide of German bullets handed Legion D'Honneur
A D-DAY hero who swam against a tide of bullets to provide supplies for troops has received a French medal for his bravery.
Alfred ‘Alf’ Littlefield was thrown right into the firing line of German forces after his landing craft could not reach the beach at Arromanches in the third day of the landings.
He, along with several other Royal Engineers, was forced to swim ashore, carrying supplies on his back for the troops.
His unit stayed at Arromanches for several months, unloading supplies before moving on to Antwerp in Belgium and finishing their wartime experience in Hamburg, Germany.
The 93-year-old, who was 19 when he signed up, was awarded the Legion D’Honneur, at Portchester Parish Hall in Assheton Court yesterday ahead of a Thursday luncheon club.
He said: ‘I’m very proud to receive my award. It’s a great honour and it’s lovely to have my family and friends present for me to receive it.’
‘It will be something that I shall cherish forever.’
Alfred was born in North End in August 1923, and moved to Portchester following the war, and set up a plastering business.
According to his daughters, Shirley Powell and Rosemary Jeffery, Alfred never spoke about the war until he visited Normandy last year with the Royal British Legion and his family.
Mrs Powell, 72, from Denmead, said: ‘I think my father has been very overwhelmed by it all.
‘He is our hero and he always told us that he is a man who will do anything.
‘He is so determined and he is truly inspiring as a father and as a person.’
Mrs Jeffrey, also from Denmead added: ‘We thought that he could have received his medal in a museum but we thought it would be wonderful to have him receive it here, in front of all his friends, in a place that he regularly calls home.’
Colonel Charles Ackroyd, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, gave a speech at the presentation and Captain Francois Jean, Honorary French Consul, presented the medal.
Col Ackroyd said: ‘Alfred’s achievements are terrific. He is a person that I admire enormously and I would like to wish him a huge congratulations on receiving the medal.’