A SECOND World War veteran who stormed the Normandy beaches on D-Day will receive the highest honour the French government can give.
Ted Turner will be awarded the Legion d’Honneur at a ceremony at the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney, Portsmouth, on Monday.
The 89-year-old will be among the first D-Day veterans in the country to be given the award, and the first from this area.
He said: ‘This is a great honour that I wasn’t expecting.
‘I know that I’ll be thinking of those who didn’t make it, my friends who didn’t come back from the Normandy beaches after D-Day.
‘My faith has been very important to me over the years and of course there were lots of prayers said on those days around D-Day.
This is a great honour that I wasn’t expecting. I know that I’ll be thinking of those who didn’t make it, my friends who didn’t come back from the Normandy beaches after D-Day.D-Day veteran Ted Turner
‘God has helped me in lots of other situations too, especially when my wife Enid died five years ago.
‘My friends at St John’s Church mean a lot to me, and I’m glad many of them will also be there for this presentation.’
The Legion d’Honneur was originally created by Napoleon Bonaparte and is the highest decoration in France.
As an 18-year-old Royal Marine, Mr Turner, who lives in Waterlooville, helped Canadian troops secure a beachhead on Juno beach in the decisive invasion of France in June 1944.
He had sailed across the English Channel in a tiny landing craft with the Allied fleet, as part of the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Mr Turner will receive his award from Captain Francois Jean, the Consul Honoraire of France, on behalf of French president Francois Hollande.
Invited dignitaries include the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Colonel Charles Ackroyd, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Steven Wyllie; and the president of the D-Day and Normandy Fellowship vice-Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton.
Other guests include former Pompey players Alan Knight and Ray Crawford will be there, along with current Pompey FC chairman Iain McInnes, to reflect Mr Turner’s passion for the club.
The French government informed the MoD last year it wanted to recognise the acts of heroism displayed by veterans.