British war veteran aged 102 awarded Legion D'honneur for services during D-Day

25 February 2020, 14:50

Dennis Cooper, 102, has been awarded the Legion D'honneur
Dennis Cooper, 102, has been awarded the Legion D'honneur. Picture: PA

By Megan White

A 102-year-old British war veteran has been awarded the Legion D'honneur for his services during D-Day.

Dennis Roy Cooper was 23 when he enlisted in the Royal Navy from his hometown of Portsmouth in October 1940.

In 1944, he was serving as a sub Lieutenant when he helped to escort the two mulberry harbours to Normandy.

Later, he helped mine sweep from Sword Beach to Cherbourg off the Cotentin peninsular.

Mr Cooper was presented with the Legion D'honneur, the highest French decoration, during a ceremony at Blandford Camp in Dorset.

The ceremony was arranged by Armed Forces charity SSAFA to celebrate Mr Cooper and his service.

Dennis Cooper pictured in 1944
Dennis Cooper pictured in 1944. Picture: PA

He said: "It was initially a bit of a surprise when I found out about the award, but the job we did was very important and incredibly risky.

"We are all here today because of the sacrifices made in those dark days. I lost many friends who I will never forget.

"It is important that these events are never forgotten."

Mr Cooper served for three years on HMS King George V after enlisting into the Royal Navy, before working on minesweepers.

In addition to Operation Overlord, Mr Cooper was engaged in the Mediterranean during the invasion of Italy and also in Africa, where he escorted US troops.

The veteran has previously been awarded the 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star with Atlantic Bar, Defence Medal and the Victory Medal.

After the war, he left the Navy and began a career in the motor industry.

He retired to Marnhull in Dorset, where he has lived for the past 32 years with wife Mary, a retired headmistress.