Top military honour for D-Day war veteran Ron, 95

A 95-year-old war veteran has been awarded France's highest military honour.

Monday, 20th June 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Monday, 20th June 2016, 4:58 pm
Ronald Meadows pictured shaking hands with squadron leader John Barlow. Ron's daughter, Barbara Williams, is holding the medal.

Ronald Meadows from Lancaster served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and on Sunday June 12 he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur.

The medal is awarded to those who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Mr Meadows, who is now a resident at the Hillcroft Nursing Home in Morecambe, was joined by his family as squadron leader, John Barlow, of the Royal Air Force presented him with the award.

Ronald Meadows.

Mr Barlow addressed the entire room and spoke about Mr Meadows’ military career before presenting him with the medal.

He said: “Ron throughout his service and post war has been an incredibly selfless man and it gives me extreme honour to present this award to him.”

Typically, those receiving the Légion d’Honneur would travel to France and the award would be presented by the French Ambassador. However, due to health reasons Mr Meadows was unable to make the trip.

His daughter, Barbara Williams, got in touch with the local branch of the RAF Association and spoke to committee member, Graeme Austin.

Ronald Meadows.

Mr Austin, who knows Mr Meadow and visits him regularly, arranged for Mr Barlow to present the award to him, dressed in full military uniform.

Mr Austin said: “It’s wonderful that Ron is being presented with this award after such a long time and it’s really nice that all his family have come for the occasion.”

Mr Meadows joined the RAF in 1940 at the age of 19 and within just a few years was flying Spitfires.

He was stationed in Malta and often acted as a dive-bomber.

With the invasion of Italy there was less need for aircrew on Malta so Mr Meadows was transferred back to England and on D-Day he took off to cover the landings.

However, two days after D-Day he was shot down by the Royal Navy and the Germans while flying at 800 feet.

He was rescued by a Canadian tank and returned to England by Landing Craft.

His daughter, Barbara Williams, travelled from Birmingham with her family to watch her father be presented with the award.

She said: “I am extremely proud of him. He was absolutely stunned and couldn’t understand why so many people were here to see him.

“I want to thank Hillcroft for all the work they have put in to making this occasion really special.”