War veteran, 96, given French service medal for D-Day efforts
PUBLISHED: 13:00 02 November 2016
A French war medal has been given to a 96-year-old veteran from Abbots Leigh.
Arthur Goddard, who has lived at Abbots Leigh Manor Nursing Home for the past four years, was a sergeant in the Pioneer Corps during World War Two when he landed at Mulberry Harbour in Normandy during the allied liberation of France on D-Day in 1944.
He went on to serve as sergeant in prisoner of war camps in France and Belgium and has been awarded the French Legion of Honour for his services during the conflict.
Arthur, who is originally from Croydon, said: “The first camp was situated near Bayeux. We expected 2,000 prisoners but 5,000 arrived.
“As the fighting went north we followed closely behind, always near a port so we could arrange transport of prisoners to England on the boats bringing in fresh troops and supplies.”
Arthur says one of his saddest experiences was seeing the starving Romanian and Hungarian conscripts who had been forced to fight the allies.
He also paid tribute to the people he served with.
He added: “There were many colleagues who deserved the award more than me but alas are no longer with us.”