A TADLEY veteran who fought the Nazis in northern France has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur.
Roy Nash, 88, was presented with the highest decoration in France at a ceremony to honour those who took part in the D-Day celebrations.
As a 19-year-old, Mr Nash joined in the invasion 10 days after D-Day and took part in fierce fighting with the Monmouthshire Regiment as they advanced upon Bayeux.
He returned to Normandy with his stepdaughter Marilyn for the official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Along with other Allied veterans, he received the medal during a ceremony at the prefecture building in Caen.
His stepdaughter Marilyn had kept the presentation a secret after receiving a letter from Whitehall.
The 88-year-old, of Farringdon Way, said: “I could not believe it. But I’m very proud indeed.”
The great-grandfather-of-nine was one of four brothers to fight in the Second World War. After the fierce fighting in northern France, Mr Nash was part of the Allied push into Germany that led to the end of the war.
In 1945, in woodland near Hannover, Mr Nash was shot in the hand while taking part in an offensive against snipers positioned on a ridge.
He managed to find his way back to get medical help, and was flown to Brussels despite losing a lot of blood.
Mr Nash needed a skin graft using skin from his stomach, which required multiple operations performed by Basingstoke plastic surgeon Sir Harold Gillies.
He said he was amazed by how keen people were to learn of his story during his five-day trip to France this month.
The veteran added: “I have never been so in demand. I had my picture taken 57 times!”