Campaign launched for British WWII soldiers to receive Legion d’Honneur

A retired Lieutenant Colonel is campaigning for British Expeditionary Force soldiers to be recognised with France's highest military honour.

The BEF were the first British soldiers to fight in France and Belgium in 1939-40.

More than 300 people signed Mr Powell's petition for the BEF to get the honour.

While the BEF were entitled to the 1939-45 Star, only soldiers who fought in France four years later, after the D-Day landings, were awarded the Legion d'Honneur.

Mr Powell, from Betws Diserth, said: "No medal was ever struck to recognise the considerable contribution of members of the British Expeditionary Force in 1939-1940.

"With the approach of the 80th anniversary, it would be fitting for some formal recognition, at last, to be made to the few remaining survivors of this undervalued force."

Mr Powell's father Hugh Powell was one of the thousands of men sent to fight in France in 1939, before he contracted meningitis and was brought home just before the Dunkirk evacuations.

His father is looking forward to celebrating his 101st birthday at his home in New Zealand.

The BEF were eventually evacuated from Dunkirk beaches, where almost 350,000 men were rescued thanks to a flotilla of little ships during Operation Dynamo in May 1940.