Dorset veteran awarded Legion d'Honneur for D-Day

21 February 2020

21 February 2020

Dennis Roy Cooper, aged 102, was awarded the Legion d’honneur on Thursday 20th February at Blandford Camp in Dorset.

He was awarded with the Legion d’honneur back in December, but SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity organised an official ceremony at Blandford Camp to celebrate Dennis and his service in the Forces.

Amongst the attendees were Admiral The Lord West of Spithead - a former First Sea Lord - the Lord Lieutenant for Dorset, Mr Angus Campbell, SSAFA representatives including Nicholas Bate Dennis’s Case Worker and Service personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Signals. The medal was presented by Colonel Franco of the French Army.

The charity also supported Dennis when he needed assistance with caring for his wife and the development of his garden.

Dennis was enlisted into the Royal Navy on the 29th October 1940 from his hometown of Portsmouth, where he served three years on the battleship HMS King George V and then on minesweepers.

One his many roles in 1944 was escorting the two Mulberry harbours to Normandy where they were positioned on Sword and Omaha beaches.

From 5th June 1944, Dennis was engaged in mine sweeping from Sword Beach to Cherbourg off the Cotentin peninsular.

In addition to Operation Overlord, Dennis was engaged in the Mediterranean during the invasion of Italy bringing down naval gunfire on the beach heads and in Africa where he was escorting US troops.

Dennis has previously been awarded the following medals:

  • 1939-1945 Star
  • Africa Star
  • Italy Star
  • France and Germany Star with Atlantic Bar
  • Defence Medal
  • Victory Medal

Dennis retired from the Navy at the end of the war and began a career in the motor industry.  He retired to Marnhull in Dorset, where he has now lived for thirty-two years with his wife Mary, a retired headmistress.

Dennis Roy Cooper 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.”

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