French medal for Weston war veteran
- Credit: Archant
A 90-YEAR-OLD Weston-super-Mare veteran has been awarded another medal to add to his collection.
Joseph Thomas, of Earlham Grove, has been given the Legion d’Honneur for his involvement in the liberation of France in World War Two.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, the French Government is giving the medal to all surviving veterans.
Joseph, who served in the 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry regiment, said: “I remember crossing the river – we got stuck and there was gunfire all around us. It was terrifying.”
Joseph has lived in Weston all his life and has three children with wife Dorothy, aged 87, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
You may also want to watch:
His daughter Debbie said: “We are all very proud of him.”
After the war Joseph went to work for a building firm in Bridgwater before setting up his own painting and decorating business.
- 1 New restaurant named Hospitality Hero by Mercury readers
- 2 Poignant artwork installed on Weston beach
- 3 PICTURES: New Aldi store opens in shopping district
- 4 FA Cup: Weston AFC cruise past Taunton Town to reach third qualifying round
- 5 End of busy summer with more events to look forward to
- 6 Luxurious three-bedroom house overlooking Weston seafront
- 7 Weston chosen as a ‘priority place’ in bid to transform the country through culture
- 8 Day of Ibiza club classics to be performed in Weston this weekend
- 9 Second school site gets approval despite opposition
- 10 CCTV appeal after man seriously assaulted in Weston
In later life he was a lollipop man outside Ashcombe School for 11 years until the age of 85 – becoming the oldest lollipop man in Weston.
Although pleased to receive the medal, Joseph lamented its late arrival and wished more of his friends were alive to get theirs. He said: “They ought to have given it to us years ago, there’s not many of us left.
“I have fond memories of my comrades.”
He still stays in touch with the widows of his former comrades and has often visited the cemetery in Ypres.
Joseph said he believes it is vital for young people to be taught about the war, and said: “I think everybody should know what went on, it’s important to remember.”