On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Second World War, the President of the French Republic, Mr Francois Hollande, decided to honour veterans who fought for the Liberation of France with the award of the Legion d’Honneur.
On Tuesday the 7th of July, the French Ambassador in Australia, His Excellency Mr Christophe Lecourtier, decorated twenty-six veterans of World War II in a moving ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance of Melbourne.
His Excellency Christophe Lecourtier addressed each veteran a word and thanked them.
Among the veterans, there was twenty-five men and one woman, Mrs Alathea Grant. She served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). Although the women did not participate in active combat, they were exposed to the same dangers as any soldier working at military installations.
The Consular Advisor Danièle Kemp, inspired by the ambassador’s speech, wrote about the ceremony: “It was the second time in a century that fighters who had not reached the age of twenty when they signed up, found themselves in the air, oceans and mountains, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the North Sea, the Pacific jungle, mountains and forests in Russia and northern and eastern Europe with the Allies.
It was a beautiful ceremony paying tribute to courage and human dignity despite the horror of the fighting, and also an urgent reminder that today, freedom has a price.”