The Legion of Honour - Andy Anderson
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The Legion of Honour, or, in full, the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in May 1802. The Order is the highest decoration given by France.
Former Airwork, Transair, BUA and BCal Captain Andy Anderson was awarded this honour in a ceremony held in Perth, Australia, on 10th June 2015.
The award, made by the French Government, is for his part in the liberation of France in WWll.
Andy flew Shorts Sunderland flying boats for No.10 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force based out of Plymouth Hoe and clocked up over 1000 hours of operational flying over the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea hunting down German U-boats.
Andy, along with 9 other veterans were presented with the medal by the French Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Christophe Lecourtier, who gave a moving speech in recognition of the service and sacrifice for the surviving veterans and also for those who gave their lives.
Andy's son, Chris, was able to fly in from Vancouver to attend the ceremony and see his Father's war service honoured.
After the war Andy returned to Australia and commenced a civil aviation career that took him from DC3's at Australian National Airways to Vickers Vikings out of Blackbushe Airport flying for Airwork, which became Transair which became BUA and finally BCal.
Andy departed BCal for Kuwait airways to become Fleet Manager for their 707s and finally as a line Captain on their 747s before retiring back to Western Australia where he and wife Carol ran a successful restaurant in Margaret River for several years before finally easing up to enjoy the Lawn Bowls Club in Dalkeith. He clocked up over 28,000 flying hours in his flying career.
The group of 10 Australian veterans awarded the Legion of Honour by France for their part in the liberation of France in WWII
Left to right
Andy Anderson, Eric Nye, Alan Forbes, Kenneth Robinson (seated), Wilbur Towler, Frank Hall (seated), Rodney Harrisson, Tom Aubrey (seated), Peter Munro, Bob Tweed
Mr Andy Anderson
Date and place enlisted: 01/03/1942 in Perth WA. Andy joined the RAAF in 1942. He served as Sunderland flying boat Captain and protected the flotillas of Allied troops and carried out anti-submarine sorties.
Mr Eric Nye
Date and place enlisted: 18/02/1944 in Newcastle, UK. Eric joined British Army in 1945. He landed in Normandy in July 1944 and his activities over France were as an infantry rifleman before been wounded. He participated in the advance of allied troops from the coast of Normandy to the liberation of Paris.
Mr Alan Forbes
Date and place enlisted: 8/09/1942 in Perth WA. Alan joined the RAAF in 1942, and was assigned to the 460 Squadron RAF in the gunner aircrew. He participated in the advance of allied troops from the coast of Normandy to the Liberation of Paris.
Mr Kenneth Robinson
Date and place enlisted: 21/06/1942 in Perth. Kenneth joined the RAAF in 1942 and was assigned to the 467 Squadron RAF. Tail gunner in Lancaster bomber, he conducted several bombing missions in France to facilitate the landing and the advance of Allied troops.
Mr Wilbur Towler
Date and place enlisted: 24/05/1942 in Perth WA. Wilbur joined the RAAF in 1942, and was assigned to the 466 Squadron. Air gunner on a Halifax aircraft, he conducted several air missions in France to facilitate the advance of Allied troops.
Mr Francis Hall
Date and place enlisted: 7/01/1943 in Warley, Essex, England. Frank joined the British Army from 1943 to 1947. He landed in Normandy on June 6th, 1944 as a sniper.
Mr Rodney Harrisson
Date and place enlisted: 14/07/1942 in Perth. Rodney joined the RAAF from 1942 to 1946. He joined the 624 Squadron in North Africa to support the French resistance in Southern France and carried out several successful operations.
Mr Thomas Aubrey
Date and place enlisted: 09/04/1942 in Chesterfield, UK. Tom served in British Army from 1942 to 1946 and was involved in the Normandy landing in 1944.
Mr Peter Munro
Date and place enlisted: 19/06/1943 in Perth WA. Peter joined the RAAF from 1943 to 1946. As a tail gunner in a Sunderland Flying boat, he protected supplies convoys of the Allies. Between 1944 and 1945, he conducted more than 30 missions.
Mr Robert Tweed
Date and place enlisted: 15/03/1943 in the UK. Bob served in the Royal Navy from 1943 to 1946. He took an active part in the landings on Gold Beach on the 6th of June 1944, being a coxswain of landing barge vehicle.
There is also a short video of the ceremony and it can be seen here - Legion of Honour Ceremony