HE WAS a part of the great military operation that led to the end of the Second World War.
Bob Tallack was among the hundreds of servicemen who arrived on the beaches in Normandy on June 6, 1944 – D-Day.
Now, he has been awarded with a special medal by the French government.
The Legion d’Honneur was awarded by the government to thank Mr Tallack and other surviving veterans for the part they played in liberating France.
Mr Tallack, now 99, and from Southsea, was in the Royal Engineers. He arrived on Gold beach.
He went on to travel across to Germany where he was involved in the relief of one of the concentration camps.
It feels very good because it shows somebody appreciates itBob Tallack
Clutching his medal with pride, Bob said: ‘It feels very good because it shows somebody appreciates it.
‘It proves that they haven’t forgotten what’s happened in the past during the war time.’
Mr Tallack’s daughter Trish said: ‘I’m really happy. I think it’s an honour. It’s fantastic that people don’t forget.
‘Dad’s very modest and he doesn’t talk about it an awful lot but these men and boys went through hell and Dad survived it. He was the lucky one.
‘I think it’s fantastic that people do recognise that and people will remember.’
Tony Gibbs was a member of the Portsmouth branch of the Royal Engineers Association.
He said: ‘We are really pleased to have someone like Bob being recognised. It’s well-deserved.
‘He went to relieve one of the concentration camps and arrested SS guards.
‘As representatives of the Royal Engineers, we are very pleased that he has been recognised.’
Chas Drane, former secretary of the association, added: ‘Bob is very fortunate that he has lived long enough to get the award. It’s superb.
‘We owe the whole fabric of our society to them.
‘We are so proud of him. A lot of them gave their lives.’
Last year, thousands of people gathered in Portsmouth to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Portsmouth was the departure point for the troops heading to Sword Beach, the easternmost of the five beaches targeted in France.