Ross Kingston – Veteran honoured for WWII Service.
In December 2015, 70 years after the end of World War II, Ross Kingston was one of several veterans awarded with the prestigious French Legion of Honour to commemorate their service on D-Day in 1944. French president Fran<;ois Hollande awarded the veterans with the rank of ‘Chevalier’ (knight) in the Legion of Honour, which is the highest decoration in the country and is conferred on those who have performed significant services in aid of France.
“I was excited and surprised to receive the medal after so many years had passed,” Ross says. He was unfortunately unable to attend the award ceremony at Sydney’s Garden Island and instead received the medal, which is now proudly displayed in his home at Boambee Gardens Retirement Village in Coffs Harbour, via post. The award has prompted a wave of congratulatory messages and he says that his family and friends could not be more proud. “Everyone is thrilled to bits at my having received such an honour!” he says.
At just 19 years of age, Ross was serving in the Royal Navy when the Allied Forces invaded the German-occupied French region of Normandy on 6 June 1944.
Naval, airborne, infantry and armoured operations bombarded the coast in a large-scale attack that had a significant impact on the outcome of the war. Now 91, Ross still recalls the historic battle as though it was yesterday. “I was a British sailor serving on an Australian ship, the Bulolo, under the command of Commodore Douglas-Pennant,” Ross remembers. “We received heavy incoming fire from a German battery, killing three of the ship’s officers.”
Despite losing over 10,000 casualties on D-Day alone, the Allies were able to secure control of the region and liberate north-western Europe from Nazi control, which eventually led to their victory on the Western Front.
After the war ended in 1945, Ross returned to Wales to marry his wife, Eileen, with whom he had two children.
Decades later and living on the other side of the world, he received word that his service was to be officially recognised and he says that he is thrilled with his new rank.
“I’m very proud!” he says.