IN A small and moving ceremony last week, Alderney’s George Paltridge was honoured by the French government.
Former member of the elite 4 Commando, First Special Service Brigade, he was posthumously awarded France’s highest military and civilian medal, the Legion d’Honneur, as thanks from a grateful nation for his participation in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944 which began the liberation of the country from the Nazis. Daughter Carol Chalker received the medal on behalf of her late father from Guernsey’s honorary French consul, Odile Blanchette, in Alderney’s Anne French Room.
George’s award was somewhat of an adventure in itself and very nearly did not happen. When Alderney States President Stuart Trought learned in conversation in 2014 of France’s intention to honour all the survivors of the landing, he set the wheels in motion to ensure George was included on the roll of those brave souls who fought for our freedom.
But the sheer volume of applications from survivors of the event with which the Ministry of Defence in London was inundated meant a severe backlog. It was exceptional that he received the Legion d’Honneur posthumously and only due to the authorisation coinciding almost perfectly with his death on 3 June.