Commissioner Harry Read, a Second World War veteran who took part in the D-Day landings, has been awarded France’s highest honour for the role he played in the country’s liberation from the Nazis.
Commissioner Read, who has previously served as Territorial Commander for the Australia East territory of the Salvation Army, and as Chief Secretary for the Salvation Army in Canada, received the Chevalier award by order of the the Légion d'honneur at a ceremony at Kensington Palace on the afternoon of Monday 3rd of October. Commissioner Read now resides in Bournemouth where he attends the Salvation Army church in Winton, Bournemouth.
The Commissioner, who was in the 6th Airborne Division, parachuted in to the Pegasus Bridge area of Normandy in the very early morning of 6th June. Due to land at 00.50hrs, the Division were on time but landed in a deeply flooded area three miles from the planned Dropping Zone. A large number of men were drowned and the survivors had some difficulty in linking with the units.
Reflecting on receiving the award and his time with the 6th Airborne Division, Commissioner Read said: “The French Government was at its generous best when it decided to honour, with this highly prestigious medal, those who took part in the liberation of France”.