Never forget heroes like Patrick

Jack Patrick

Jack Patrick

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A NAVY veteran has been presented with a medal by the French President for his role in the D-Day landings.

Jack Patrick, 89, has been awarded the The Legion D’Honneur in recognition of his role in freeing France from the grip of the Nazis by fighting on the beaches of Normandy in 1945.

Mr Patrick, of Hillcrest, Atherton, was aged just 18 on June 6, 1944, when he fought in the D-Day landings.

He said: “I knew the president had said he was going to give some medals out but I didn’t think I would get one.

“It was terrible. There were so many dead bodies on the beaches. For a young man it was quite a shock.

“They said I was a hero but I am not a hero.”

Mr Patrick received a letter in December from the French ambassador for London explaining that he was being awarded the medal.

Mr Patrick said: “The letter says we will never forget the heroes like you for liberating France.

“We owe our freedom and security to you because you were willing to risk your life.

“It goes on to say that they are sorry they can’t present the medals to everyone in person but if we would like an awards ceremony arranged to get in touch.

“I don’t want any of that though.”

After D-Day, Mr Patrick was sent to South East Asia where he saw the Japanese surrender in 1945.

He stayed in the Navy until 1946 travelling the world and has since worked as a chauffeur and a HGV driver.

He said: “I have done all kinds of things in my lifetime. I have been all over the world and I have never had any trouble.

“I’ve always been very happy-go-lucky, I don’t like to moan and groan.”

It is the second time Mr Patrick has been in the news.

In 2010 he travelled back to South East Asia with his wife Denise as part of a Heroes Return programme run by the Lottery Fund.

Then 84, he travelled to Changi Prison where the Japanese military detained around 3,000 civilians during their occupation from 1942 to 1945.

He returned to Singapore for four days and went on to visit Hong Kong, Vietnam, Chinese cities Shanghai and Beijing, and Nagasaki in Japan.