Stoke & Staffordshire

Former soldier Harry Gould, 91, awarded French honour

Harry Gould
Image caption Mr Gould only became aware he was eligible for the medal after a conversation over a cup of tea

A 91-year-old former soldier has been awarded one of France's highest honours for his role in the D-Day landings.

Harry Gould, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, will be presented with the Legion d'Honneur by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire.

Mr Gould served with the Royal Army Service Corps and was involved in the transportation of supplies to troops.

The charity that helped him apply said Mr Gould had been unaware he was eligible until told over a cup of tea.

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Mr Gould said he had been 18 years old when he landed at Arromanches, in Normandy.

"We had to come off the landing crafts. There were thousands of [men] just dead on the ground.

"The cargo we were carrying was mainly fresh water, ammunition and food.

"The water was important because the water in in Normandy had been polluted by the Germans."

Later, as Mr Gould was travelling in convoy, the two wagons in front of him exploded after being hit by aircraft fire.

'Like having OBE'

"It made you feel terrible, but you had to keep going," he said.

He said he had been overwhelmed when learning he was eligible to receive the medal.

"It's like having an OBE in this country," he said.

Geoff Harriman, chairman of Tri Services and Veterans Support Centre, helped Mr Gould apply for the honour.

"Through conversations over a cup of tea, we found out Harry took part in the D-Day landings," he said.

"We knew the French government were awarding medals, so we applied on his behalf.

"It's France's highest award to non-French nationals. It's a way of saying thank you for assisting in the liberation of France."

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