A 100-year-old’s milestone day was marked with a double celebration as the Sunderland war veteran was recognised for his efforts to claim back France from the Nazis.
Albert Robson first arrived in France in 1939 as part of the British forces, with the son of a County Durham miner helping to protect its own mines in the north of the country.
He returned five years later on D-Day - June 6, 1944 - as part of the allied invasion to liberate France from the Nazis, fighting with the 6th Armoured Division.
In time, he helped the Army link up with the Americans and Canadians as a driver as the forces headed for Belgium.
Once they reached the country, Albert became the first allied soldier to arrive and liberate the town of Lessines and in Holland he helped distribute food to the starving Dutch around Bergen-op Zoom.
His association with France remained, visiting with wife Elsie and daughter Anne, who had become a French teacher.
We are so grateful for what he and others did for us and we will always remember and be grateful.French consul Eric Donjon
When she moved there in 2005, he continued to visit.
Albert, who was widowed in 2000, and is also dad to Keith, 70, has now been recognised by France for helping to reclaim the country during the Second World War.
The grandfather of four and great grandfather of five was presented with the Legion d’Honneur at his 100th birthday party, held for friends and family at The Rosedene.
His military career was followed by a very different role.
For most of his working, Albert, of Grindon, worked as a finance control officer for Leckonby - best known for its work with Joplings.
Anne, 72, said: “To get to be 100 is quite remarkable in itself, but dad didn’t want a fuss.
“But then we told him about the Legion d’Honneur.
“It was absolutely amazing and so emotional and he managed to make a little speech.
“The reaction from the consul was really very good and it was a very emotional event for everybody, and there were tears.
“We all just felt so proud.”
The medal was presented by Eric Donjon, the Honorary Consul of France for Tyne and Wear.
He said: “He is a fantastic and amazing gentleman.
“As a 27-year-old he arrived in France not knowing what he would be faced with.
“We are so grateful for what he and others did for us and we will always remember and be grateful.”