Edward Carey and Peter Dukes were officially awarded the Chevalier in the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur by the Hon. Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister, Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The ceremony, held at the Hull Sea Cadets base, was attended by 90 guests. Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson also attended the ceremony, honouring the former soldiers who risked their lives for the freedom of others, alongside residents and staff from the HICA care home, The Rowans, where Edward and Peter live, friends, family and other Normandy veterans.
The men, both aged 96, were presented with the award which was established by French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The award of Chevalier is only given to those with a minimum 20 years of public service or 25 years of professional activity with “eminent merits”.
Peter Dukes joined army at the age of 18 and served with the Tank Corps as Lance Corporal. After becoming stationed in Northumberland, Peter was sent to Dunkirk and then the Normandy Landings.
Edward Carey served on the HMS Largs, the H.Q. ship for Sword Beach carrying tri-service commanders and staff. The vessel provided combined operations communications for the Army, Navy and Air forces during landing operations until suitable alternative facilities could be established on shore.
Following a month on the HMS Largs off Sword Beach, Edward then went on to complete landings on the south coast of France and the north coast of Italy, before eventually moving on to Burma whilst completing SAS exercises for 11 months.
Penni Brown, chief executive at Hica Group said: “This is a fantastic recognition for two young men who defended the freedom of millions during the Second World War. I am proud to say that Eddie and Peter are both members of The Rowans family.
“It is so important to acknowledge the sacrifices and bravery of veterans like Peter and Eddie, as well as raising awareness about the war and its soldiers. It also provides a talking point and an opportunity for us to learn even more about our residents, who are sometimes quite withdrawn due to the effects of dementia and its symptoms.”
On D-Day, 6 June 1944, Allied forces including American, British and Canadian troops with support from Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air or ground support., launched a naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France.
Operation ‘Overlord’, as it was codenamed, marked the start of a long campaign to free North West Europe from German occupation. June 6, or D-Day as it became to be known, saw airborne forces parachute into drop zones across northern France.
The Hica Group is a not for profit organisation, which operates a portfolio of 20 residential care homes, five of which are for people with a learning disability, along with two retirement villages. The company also runs a home care service providing approximately 11,500 hours of support and care from four regional offices in the North of England.