A proud Second World War hero will be presented with a prestigious military award next month – and he says the accolade is for all those killed in the conflict.
D-Day veteran George Skipper, 92, is to receive the Légion d’honneur – France’s highest honour – during a Remembrance Concert at St Nicholas Cathedral, in Newcastle, on November 7.
The former Amble resident, who now lives in Whitley Bay, will be presented with the decoration by the Duchess of Northumberland for his courageous role in helping to liberate France.
Warkworth and Amble District Royal British Legion member George said: “I am very proud and will be very honoured to receive the Légion d’honneur. But it is not for me, it is for all the blokes that lost their lives.”
George was only 20 when he landed at Gold Beach on D-Day, as part of the massive Allied invasion of German-occupied France. “I was scared,” he said, thinking back to June 6, 1944.
He was aboard a merchant vessel which had crossed the Channel in a huge flotilla and unloaded fighting vehicles onto the landing craft during the initial phase of the operation. He later landed at Gold Beach.
He said: “There were bodies everywhere, firing and shells landing all around and obstacles on the beach. But the naval bombardment was terrific. I don’t think we would have made it if it wasn’t for that.”
After D-Day, George served in the Ardennes as part of a special 11-man team, the 43rd Field Security Unit, which was made up of Army interpreters who would interrogate captured enemy soldiers in the field. He made it to Germany and was demobbed in Hamburg in 1947.
Last year, he attended poignant commemorations in France to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.