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Highest French Honour for Middlesbrough War Hero

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 13.14.46A MIDDLESBROUGH war hero is to receive France’s highest honour at a special ceremony in his home town.

Ron Tucker will be presented with the Légion d’Honneur by Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd at a ceremony in the Town Hall on Thursday (January 28).

The order of the Légion d’Honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and represents the highest decoration in France.

While membership of the Légion is mainly restricted to French nationals, it can be conferred on foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds.

Ron, from Coulby Newham and now in his 80s, joined the Army under age by claiming to be 18 when he was just 16.

Determined to do his bit in the fight against the Germans, he joined the Gordon Highlanders and subsequently jumped at the chance to become a paratrooper.

After months of hard training his Battalion was given an important task on D-Day – to take out a battery of guns overlooking one of the landing beaches.

Parachuting in under cover of darkness, they were some of the first to land in France as the invasion gathered momentum.

Unfortunately Ron and many of his comrades were unable to achieve their primary objective, with nearly a third of their number either killed or presumed drowned.

However the survivors fought their way to secondary objectives, going on to prevent German forces attacking the beachhead being formed as troops came ashore, thus allowing the breakout.

Later he fought in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and early 1945 in conditions so cold that one blanket he had slept in snapped as he tried to fold it up.

Ron was once again at the heart of the action when he was dropped in the Rhine Crossing – amid heavy casualties he was wounded himself but had a miraculous escape when a cross in his ammo pouch deflected a bullet.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “Those who served in the Second World War – and countless other conflicts – deserve our admiration and gratitude.

“Ron is a fine example of a local hero who simply went to war on behalf of his local community and the country as a whole, because he wanted to make a difference.

“He certainly did that, and it is fitting that he should be awarded the Légion d’Honneur medal in recognition of his outstanding bravery on the field of battle in France.”

By admin