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Welling war veteran, 92, receives France's highest honour

PUBLISHED: 14:35 03 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:43 03 May 2016

Blind Veterans UK trustee Colonel Mike Brooke, George Haslam, daughter Anita Haslam

Blind Veterans UK trustee Colonel Mike Brooke, George Haslam, daughter Anita Haslam

Archant

A veteran of the Second World War has been awarded France's highest honour for his part in the liberation of France.

Blind Veterans UK trustee Colonel Mike Brooke, George Haslam, daughter Anita HaslamBlind Veterans UK trustee Colonel Mike Brooke, George Haslam, daughter Anita Haslam

George Haslam, from Welling, was presented with the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur at a ceremony in Brighton.

Mr Haslam was presented the honour by Colonel Mike Brooke OBE, a trustee of Blind Veterans UK, which set up the ceremony.

Col Brooke said: “It was a great honour to present the Legion d’Honneur to George and I personally thanked him for his service.

“We’re so proud of all of our veterans like George and it is only right that his service is recognised with this prestigious French medal.”

The 92-year-old signed up for National service when he was 18 and eventually trained to operate telephone centre and send messages in Morse Code.

He landed in Arromanches, nicknamed Sword Beach in July 1944.

During his time in service in Europe, Mr Haslam was on the back of a converted truck used as a mobile signals office from France into Brussels.

He went on to support the Allies in the Battle of the Bulge.

The veteran said: “The presentation was brilliant and I’m very grateful Blind Veterans UK set it up for me. Colonel Brooke was very charming and chatted with me.

“Afterwards everyone came up to me to have a look at my Legion d’Honneur.”

Mr Haslam ended his service in 1947 as a sergeant, after supporting Brigadier Bastin and other officers in Germany.

The presentation of the honour was set up by Blind Veterans UK, where Mr Haslam visited after noticing his vision was clouding over.

He said: “Blind Veterans UK is the most efficient organisation I’ve ever come across and I am delighted I went to their Brighton centre.

“When I walked into the centre I was a stranger to the staff and volunteers but they treated me as if they had known me all my life. I cant’ thank them enough, for the amazing experience and I hope life will be a bit easier now with everything I’ve learned.”

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