The memories will probably never fade – and veteran soldier James Harrower now has a permanent physical reminder at last of his wartime role.
The former painter with Buckaven Town Council, now 92, has been presented with a medal honouring his presence at the Battle of Falaise Gap, a decisive engagement against the Germans in the Battle of Normandy in 1944, two months after the allied D-Day invasion.
James, of Kennoway, has been bestowed with the rank of Chevalier and received congratulations from the Ordre Nationale de la Legion d’Honneur, which has honoured eligible veterans for their role in liberating France.
A letter from Sylvie Berman, Ambassadeur de France, said: “We must never forget heroes like you who came from the UK and Commonwealth to liberate Europe, starting with the liberation of France. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication, because you were ready to risk your life.”
“I have to say, it’s 70 years past but at least they have acknolwledged it, which is good of them,” said James. “I have been back to Normandy about three times on battlefield tours. I don’t think there will be many of us in this district.”
James’ father John was the Co-op butchery manager in Buckhven and the family lived in Leven. James was called up at 18 and was with the 79th Armour Division, attached to the Canadian army at the time of the conflict.
Wife Janet (89) said he was quite overwhelmed by the gesture and added: “It’s a nice little medal – I think he was so surprised to get it.”