Dunstable D-Day hero receives Legion d’Honneur on anniversary of Normandy invasion

WWII Veteran Doug Baldwin, of the 6th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was presented with the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 12:08 pm

A Dunstable D-Day hero received the Legion d’Honneur when he was invited to the official online ceremony for the opening of the British Normandy Memorial in France.

World War Two veteran Doug Baldwin, of the 6th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was presented with the Legion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit, for the part he played in the war. He went over to Normandy just after D-Day, but was captured at Estre and taken as a PoW until the conflict ended.

On the 77th anniversary of D Day (June 6), volunteer London Cab drivers took a large group of WWII veterans to the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, to participate in the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer.

Left image: Doug Baldwin - back left- with fellow World War Two veterans. Right image: Doug Baldwin - back - with fellow World War Two veterans.

The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans originally planned to take a group of WWII veterans to Normandy for the opening of the new British Memorial, overlooking Gold Beach, but pandemic restrictions meant that the veterans had to watch a live link from the Staffordshire arboretum.

Doug, said: “It was such an honour to have been presented with the Legion d’Honneur on the 77th anniversary of D Day at the National Memorial Arboretum. I served with the 6th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers, and we went into Normandy after D-Day when reinforcements were needed, and it is marvellous to be recognised for the part I played.

"We lost so many during this conflict and the real heroes who deserve this medal are those that didn’t come back and are buried in graves in Normandy or at the bottom of the Channel.”

Other British veterans who attended the virtual ceremony in Staffordshire included Gilbert Clarke and Ken Hay, who both spoke during the moving service, and John Pinkerton and Tom Schaffer, who laid a wreath of poppies.

Dick Goodwin, Vice President, Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “It was very moving to see the faces of the veterans we support as the new British Normandy Memorial overlooking one of the D-Day beaches in Ver-sur-Mer was officially opened. Under normal circumstances the Taxi Charity take veterans back to Normandy each year to mark D-Day. Sadly, the pandemic has meant that we have not been able to travel to France for the 76th or 77th anniversary but we are determined that as soon as we are able, we will take a group of veterans across the channel to pay their respects at the new Memorial.”

To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers veterans visit www.taxicharity.org