South Tyneside war veteran given top honour for his part in Normandy Landings

A war veteran who risked his life to help liberate France from the Nazi's during the Second World War has been awarded for his efforts.

Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 28th December 2017, 9:05 am
Jimmy McAdam with his Legion d'Honneur medal.

Jimmy McAdam, 93, was a lorry driver with the Royal Engineers during the war.

His role saw him deployed to Normandy, where he delivered much-needed supplies for troops in France, Belgium and Holland.

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It was a task which put him in extreme danger but he continued to carry out the task asked of him.

At the weekend, his efforts and part he played in helping to liberate France from the Nazi’s was recognised when he was presented with France’s highest decoration - The Légion d’honneur.

Mr McAdam was surrounded by his family as French Honorary Consulate for North East and Cumbria Eric Donjon handed over his medal.

Standing to accept his medal, the grandfather, from Hebburn who is being cared for at Fellingate Care Centre in Felling, Gateshead, said “thank you” as it was added to his blazer.

Jimmy McAdam with his Legion d'Honneur medal.

Staff at the home also put on a small party to mark the occasion.

Mr McAdam said: “I did not think I would get a medal for what I did.

“I’m very proud. I am proud I was able to do my bit and help the French - they were decent people.”

The Légion d’honneur was created in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte and is France’s highest distinction. It is awarded in recognition of both military and civilian merit.

Jimmy McAdam receives his Legion d'Honneur medal from French Consul Eric Donjon, with fellow veteran Richard Atkinson.

In June 2014 - the 70th anniversary of D-Day - the French President announced the medal would be awarded to British veterans who took part in military operations between 1944 and 1945 to help liberate France from the Nazis.

Mr Donjon said: “It’s a great honour to be able to present Mr McAdam with his medal.

“These people risked their lives, they did not know what was going to happen when they were sent into battle.

“Mr Atkinson who was in Dunkirk was one of the first people to receive the medal and I have brought him along to meet Mr McAdam.

Jimmy McAdam with fellow veteran Richard Atkinson.

“He said the place was in chaos with bullets flying everywhere, People were really lucky if they come back alive.

“As a French national myself, giving their youth and some of them their lives to come and rid us of the tyrants who had occupied France. These people deserve to be recognised for what they done - which we are ever so grateful for.”

Jimmy McAdam, right, Christmas Eve 1946.
Jimmy McAdam with his Legion d'Honneur medal.
Jimmy McAdam receives his Legion d'Honneur medal from French Consul Eric Donjon, with fellow veteran Richard Atkinson.
Jimmy McAdam with fellow veteran Richard Atkinson.
Jimmy McAdam, right, Christmas Eve 1946.