Shadow Defence Minister for Veterans, Rachael Maskell MP has called for the Government to speed up its applications process working with the French authorities to make sure all Normandy Veterans are honoured with the Legion d’honneur before Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) in under two months time.
French President Francoise Hollande announced on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings (6 June 2014) that all surviving veterans of World War 2 would receive the Legion d’honneur, France’s highest honour as recognition for their heroism and determination.
Rachael Maskell MP (Shadow Defence Minister) said:
“Many of the Normandy Veterans are now in their nineties, and having heard President Hollande’s announcement almost two years ago, they filled in their application forms but still await the Legion d’honneur medal.
“The UK Ministry of Defence is still receiving applications from Veterans each week and in February 2016, there were 1,750 applications still to be submitted to the French authorities. I welcome the co-operation that has seen a new system developed to cater for 100 applications to be completed per week, but even at this rate, many of the Normandy Veterans will not receive the Legion d’honneur until the end of June 2016.
“I’ve written to the Général d’armée Georgelin in France and also to the Secretary of State for Defence in Britain to ask that they pay extra special attention to this and make a commitment to speed up the processing of Normandy Veterans' applications before VE day – May 7 in the UK, May 8 in France. This would require the processing of approximately 200 applications per week, a doubling of the current rate that would make a massive difference to all those national heroes who are still awaiting their medals.
“I would really like to hear from any Normandy Veteran who has not yet received their medal or needs assistance to make an application, and I will help in every way I can”