D-Day veteran honoured

David Murray with the Légion d’honneur, the highest honour awarded by the French government.

David Murray with the Légion d’honneur, the highest honour awarded by the French government. - Credit: Archant

A World War Two veteran from Sidmouth, who was part of the Normandy D-Day landings as a teenager, has received France’s highest military honour at the age of 91.

David Murray, age 20.

David Murray, age 20. - Credit: Archant

David Murray, of Brewery Lane, has dedicated the insignia of Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur to his grandchildren.

Mr Murray grew up in Marylebone and left school at 14. After working in a garage, he joined the 11th Air Formation Signals regiment in 1942.

The grandfather-of-two was 19 when he landed on Gold Beach in Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944.

His daughter, Marilyn Felstead, who lives in Honiton, said: “They were all young together - they were all in it together.

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“They had no idea it was D-Day when they left on the ship from the UK. They thought they were going to Norway.

“Dad said to the man next to him ‘the ship’s going the wrong way, this is not the way to Norway’.”

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Upon arriving in France, Mr Murray was tasked with driving a lorry off the boat, but the vehicle experienced a mechanical failure. After the lorry was fixed, the young soldier worked to lay cables to help Allied forces communicate.

For eight months, Mr Murray travelled through Europe - including northern France, Belgium and Germany.

Less than a month before the war ended, he was accidently shot in the leg by the passenger of his lorry who was carrying a rifle.

During his convalescence in Taunton he met his wife, Eva, who had been evacuated to Devon from London.

Marilyn said: “He talks about his friends and his comrades and how they helped each other along.

“It’s really great what he has done and what all the men have done for the country. It’s amazing what they did and we should remember.”

Marilyn’s husband Keith added: “He is proud. He said he had won it for his grandchildren.”

Mr Murray received a letter from French ambassador Sylvie Bermann, thanking him for his bravery.

She said: “We owe our freedom and security to your dedication because you were ready to risk your life.”

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