97-year-old veteran given top french military medal
A WWII veteran who was unable to leave his home for five years until Blesma came to his rescue has received France’s highest order of merit; the Legion d’Honneur.
Reginald Webb joined the King’s Royal Rifle Corps in 1942 after his family home was bombed in the war. He saw action two years later, landing on the beaches of Normandy in the days after D-Day. His first task was to help protect Arromanches, where troops and supplies would off-load.
“The Germans were trying to take the harbour away from us. By the time heavy Infantry arrived we had lost most of the company. We only had 34 men left!” recalled Reg. “We’d trained together for more than two years and knew everybody by their Christian names. We were all mates. They are the true heroes to me. I still remember them and think of them every day.”
Reg later travelled with his regiment into France, through Belgium, and into Holland, where he fought in the Battle of Arnhem, helping paratroopers cross the River Rhine.
I went to Arnhem with my section of just two Bren gunners, one rifleman, and I had a Sten gun. We were guarding a village and it was up to me and my section to hold the road in this village. Three hundred German troops walked down the road as if they owned the place. They were 60 yards away before I gave the order to open fire. We got 1,036 paratroopers across the river. We were quite happy about that.
It was after this that Reg was hit six times by machine-gun fire. The wounds resulted in him losing his right leg below the knee. “This medal is not for me, but for the boys that I lost and left behind,” said Reg during the presentation at King’s Lynn Town Hall.
Reg sadly passed away this Armistice Day.