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Middleton veteran honoured as iconic award brings Christmas cheer

20 December 2017

William Wild.

A 92-year-old Middleton veteran received an early Christmas present after receiving France’s highest military honour for helping liberate the country in World War Two.

William Wild, who was a gunner for the Special Operations Executive, was bestowed with the famous Légion d’honneur (Legion of Honour) by the French government.

Throughout the war years William played a key role on the high seas resisting Nazi forces, liberating occupied countries and protecting British shores from invasion.

William’s letter, from the UK’s French Ambassador, praised his ‘steadfast involvement in the liberation of France during the Second World War’ adding how he bravely risked his life to help secure freedom.

He was officially presented with the iconic medal by the Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Ian Duckworth at a special festive ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall.

William’s wife Annie, family, friends and members of the armed forces community were also present to witness the moving award presentation.

William said: “I am very honoured and overwhelmed with the award. I would like to thank the French authorities for thinking about me. The war is a long time ago but I never forget. I am always thinking about my comrades who didn’t make it home. It was a lovely ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.”

Mayor of Rochdale Councillor Ian Duckworth said: “This is a well-deserved award for a fantastic servant to our country and our borough. William bravely helped to resist the Nazis and ensure good triumphed over evil. I was honoured to present him with such a distinguished medal. We will never forget.”