Waikanae’s Rev Hector Davis has been made a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of the Legion of Honour for his part in liberating France from the Germans in World War II. His award was made on 28 April by the French Ambassador.
In 1944, when only 20, Hector served with the Royal Engineers in the D-Day landings in Normandy, the beginnings of the overthrow of the Nazi occupation of France and of Europe generally. His tasks included ensuring accurate maps for the Allied troops. He also worked as a surveyor on a road by-passing the town of Bayeux which had to be built quickly as it was to be used by heavy transport and artillery moving inland within France. Hector remembers being under fire from the German Luftwaffe’s planes and could see them at night attacking the beaches and sand embankments.
Those who survived the initial Normandy Invasion and are still alive, as Hector is, have now been awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest military or civil honour, first established by Napoleon who awarded it to himself in 1802.