Medal honour for Fylde war hero Matthew

D-Day veteran Matthew Japp, aged 101.
D-Day veteran Matthew Japp, aged 101.
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One of the UK’s oldest D-Day survivors has claimed “he is no hero” despite being awarded France’s highest honour.

Cpl Matthew Japp, 101, landed on Sword Beach on June 6, 1944, and played a key role in liberating Europe, decoding German messages and locating the position of enemy troops.

Legion D'Honneur medal

Legion D'Honneur medal

But earlier this month he was left stunned after receiving the Legion D’Honneur - France’s top award.

Mr Japp, of Ilford Road, Marton, called the prize “the biggest surprise of my life.”

He added: “It is a beautiful medal.

“They sent me a letter from the French embassy three weeks ago with the medal part of it.

“I am not sure how I have received it, but it is possible the Mayor of Caen in France put me forward for it.

“He presented me with my Normandy medal.

“I am also the oldest survivor of the Royal Corps of Signals from the Second World War.”

The Legion D’Honneur, which translates into English as the Legion of Honour, was an award created by French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century.

Membership of the Legion is restricted to French nationals.

But foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds may receive the accolade.

The 101-year-old, who plans to attend the Armed Forces Week service at Blackpool Cenotaph on Sunday, said he was proud to be given the award.

He added: “All the thousands of men I served with deserve it more than me. They are all lying in France or all over the world. Sometimes things come back to me and I choke up. It is one of the biggest surprises.

“I have eight medals now. I am not a hero just an ordinary chap and did the job I was trained for.”