Dunkirk veteran receives Legion d'honneur award

A Dunkirk hero has been honoured for his role in the Second World War.

Bernard Richardson senior was appointed to the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur by the French President.

The 98-year-old of Green Lane, Lofthouse, received his award at the Yorkshire Air Museum on May 22.

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His son Bernard Richardson junior was among 22 of the veteran’s family members who went to see the presentation.

He said: “All the family is delighted about his honour. He keeps fairly quiet about his time serving but this is a big achievement.”

Mr Richardson senior joined the Royal Artillery at the age of 22, going on to reach the rank of Sergeant. He was stationed close to Dunkirk in 1940 and during the war also served elsewhere in France as well as at home in the UK.

After wartime finished, he moved to Wakefield with his wife Martha, where he took up a job as farm manager at Stanley Royd Hospital.

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He was a stalwart member of the Leeds Branch of the Dunkirk Veterans Association and spent much of his time visiting sick and dying members.

He is thought to be the only member standing, after the branch folded four years ago.

A letter sent to Mr Richardson senior on behalf of the French president read: “I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledge military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War.

“As we contemplate this Europe of peace, we must never forget heroes like you, who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France.”