A Sunderland veteran is among those who will be awarded France’s highest military honour.
Charles Eagles, 90, from East Herrington, is one of around 20 veterans from the North East who will receive a legion d’honneur medal from the French government.
Many of the former servicemen will be awarded the honour at a special Festival of Remembrance being held at Durham Cathedral next month to mark their role in liberating France from the Germans.
Mr Eagles, who went on to open a well-known camera shop in Sunderland city centre, was a sergeant in the Durham Light Infantry who took part in the D Day Landings in June 1944. After fighting in a number of fierce battles, he was injured by a land mine the following month.
He and fellow veterans will be honoured for their part in some of the most defining battles of WWII at a ceremony on November 7.
The Legion d’honneur medals will be presented to the veterans by the honorary French Consul for the North East and Cumbria, Andrew Robinson.
He said: “I can’t think of a more fitting event and place for this presentation to take place. The Festival of Remembrance Concert at Durham Cathedral is such a wonderful event and for many years has been the focus of so many who wish to commemorate and celebrate those who have served with our armed forces.
“It will be an honour to present these men with their medals on behalf of the French government as thanks for their service liberating France during World War Two.”
The presentation of the awards will come towards the end of the Festival of Remembrance Concert, which includes a muster parade; performances by military,
emergency service and community bands and choirs; a poetry reading from a young local school pupil and the famous poppy drop from the Cathedral tower.
Major Eric Ingram, who organised the concert, said: “We are honoured that the Festival of Remembrance Concert has been chosen as the occasion to present
these veterans with this major honour from the French government.
“The concert aims to remember those who have given their lives for their country and serving soldiers who put their lives at risk for our liberties today and it raises funds for the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity so it could not be more fitting really.
“We hope that members of the public will join us at this poignant and moving concert, which is always a popular event in the lead up to Remembrance Day
•Tickets for the Festival of Remembrance Concert at Durham Cathedral are priced at £10 - £18 and are available from the Gala Theatre Box Office on 03000 266 600 or www.galadurham.co.uk