Warboys resident Victor Steward receives the Legion of Honour in recognition of service during Second World War
- Credit: Archant
A veteran from Warboys has been awarded the Legion of Honour from the French government in recognition of his service during the Second World War.
At a ceremony held in the village last Tuesday, Victor Steward, 95, was awarded the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour by the President of France, the highest decoration that can be bestowed by the country.
Mr Steward was presented with his insignia by the High Sherriff of Cambridgeshire, Captain Victor Lucas, at a ceremony at the parish centre, surrounded by his family and friends and members of the local branch of the Royal British Legion.
Mr Steward drove a field ambulance for the Royal Army Service Corps and said that one of his greatest fears during the D-Day landings in 1944 was that he would “stall the engine as he drove down the ramp and into the sea because it was a bit choppy”.
He was also present during the evacuation of Dunkirk and recalled having to set fire to vehicles used by Allied forces and having to “dive for cover in the sand dunes” as the Nazis bombed overhead.
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The citation from the French Ambassador to Mr Steward read “I offer you my warmest congratulations on this high honour in recognition of your acknowledged military engagement and your steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War”.
Mr Steward is a long-time resident of Warboys and was the founder of the popular Steward’s Hardware store in the village until its recent closure and he is a former member of Warboys Parish Council.
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The High Sheriff, Mr Lucas, said “I am delighted to be able to perform this honour for a fellow Warboys resident and a former service man like myself. This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Mr Steward’s contribution and that of many others like him in the liberation of France all those years ago and is thoroughly deserved.” Chairman of the parish council, Mary Bucknell, added “I am very pleased for Mr Steward who, in addition to his wartime exploits, has played a valuable and much respected role in the community of Warboys.”