War hero finally recognised for his part in the Second World War

Veteran Jack Ashton with his medal recently awarded by the French government
Veteran Jack Ashton with his medal recently awarded by the French government

A Normandy veteran who lives in Fleetwood has been recognised for his part in liberating France in the Second World War.

Jack Ashton was awarded the rank of Chevalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur by the French government for his efforts on the front line.

Lancashire soldiers on D-Day

Lancashire soldiers on D-Day

And 92-year-old Mr Ashton wasted no time in dedicating his medal to the Fleetwood men and women who fought in France but didn’t live long enough to be honoured.

Mr Ashton, of The Strand, served with the tank regiment during some of the most intense battles on French soil as the war came to a head in 1944.

His life was spared while the rest of his comrades perished when the tank he was in was blown up.

It was during the Battle of Caen after Mr Ashton had landed on Sword Beach as part of the D-Day Landings.

I remember watching the bombing in Caen, it was like watching Fleetwood from Knott End.

Mr Ashton

“We were certainly in the thick of it,” he said.

“The tank was knocked and I lost all my comrades.

“Later I suffered injuries when I took a direct hit and ended up convalescing for five months in Holland.

“I remember watching the bombing in Caen, it was like watching Fleetwood from Knott End.”

The Legion d’honneur has been presented to all surviving veterans who fought to liberate France.

The medal was accompanied by a letter which congratulated Mr Ashton on his ‘engagement and steadfast involvement in the liberation of France.”

It also spoke of how heroes, like Mr Ashton, were ready to risk their lives for the freedom and security of France.

Now registered blind, Mr Ashton is unable to see his medal but he said how delighted he was to receive it and how much pleasure it had given him.

The retired Inland Revenue worker said: “I am very, very pleased because I think it makes you feel appreciated.

“So many people were badly treated and it’s good to know the president has thought as much.

“It has come at a very good time in view of the current terrorist situation and I want to dedicate this medal to the Fleetwood men and women who were in Normandy but didn’t live to receive the medal.

“It’s particularly pleasing to receive such a beautiful medal.

“There were lots of people who didn’t get the recognition. It’s just a shame I can’t see it.”

Mr Ashton was born in Liverpool and came to live in Fleetwood in 1972. He lives with his wife Pam and is a keen Everton supporter.