Morecambe D-Day hero presented with top medal for his part in Dutch liberation in World War Two

A Morecambe war veteran has been given a top commendation for his work during the liberation of the Netherlands during World War Two.

Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:38 am

Jack Bracewell was invited to have a special presentation of the Dutch Liberation Medal, known as the 'Thank You Liberators' medal.

And last Monday Captain RNLN Gerit Nijenhuis, Defence and Naval Attache, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, visited Jack and his family at his Morecambe home to conduct a small ceremony and presentation.

This token of appreciation is given by the Dutch people in sincere gratitude of services during World War Two.

Jack Bracewell shows off his certificate and new medal awarded to him in his Morecambe home. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The ‘Thank You Liberators’ medal is an initiative by the Dutch National Committee (Nationaal Comité 4 en 5 mei) which helps determine how meaning is given to commemorating and celebrating and to how the memory of World War Two is kept alive.

The British, American, Canadian and Polish armies have had a special relationship with the Dutch. Since 1946, the Netherlands has welcomed them back for various commemorations of World War Two events.

Jack, now 98, was a driver in the Royal Army Service Corps when he landed at Gold Beach on D-Day on June 6 1944.

He and his troop later moved through France to the Netherlands and on to Germany at the end of the war, where he was demobbed in October 1946.

Captain RNLN Gerit Nijenhuis, Defence and Naval Attache, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Jack's son-in-law Phil Shelling, Jack Bracewell and his daughter Lynne Shelling celebrate his award. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

He said: "I remember entering Holland and the streets being packed with people cheering and celebrating. They were giving us wine, chocolate and flowers and cheering.

"We did a lot of celebrating and downed a few beers. I met a family with a little girl called Tooja Coombs, she gave me pannenkoeken, a kind of apple tart, it was delicious.

"We were in Holland for a while before moving on. The people were lovely."

In 2017 Jack was also presented with the Legion d’Honneur medal – the highest possible French honour, which is given to all D-Day veterans.

Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis greets Jack Bracewell at his home in Morecambe. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis chats with Jack Bracewell at his home in Morecambe. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis presents Jack Bracewell with a medal and certificate. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis presents Jack Bracewell with a medal and certificate. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis presents Jack Bracewell with some Pannenkoeken which Jack ate whilst on service. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Captain Gerrit Nijenhuis chats with Jack Bracewell. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard