Bexhill paratrooper honoured for his role in liberating France in war

Percy Denman. Picture by Roy Haynes SUS-160208-101014001
Percy Denman. Picture by Roy Haynes SUS-160208-101014001

A veteran who played his part in liberating France from the Nazis in the Second World War has been honoured.

Percy Denman, 90, of The Sackville, De La Warr Parade, Bexhill, received the Legion d’Honneur from the French government.

The medal recognises all those war veterans who helped free France and Europe from Nazi tyranny more than 70 years ago during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Presenting the medal to Percy, the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, said to him: “We must never forget the heroes like you. We owe our freedom and security to your dedication because you were ready to risk your life.”

Percy, who has lived at The Sackville for 10 years, was a Red Devil parachutist.

In 1944 he and his comrades landed near Caen in northern France and were tasked with securing the key tactical ground and bridges beyond the Normandy beaches.

Percy said they were under constant sniper fire from Nazi troops and added the scene was one of carnage.

He said: “I lost my best pal to sniper fire.”

Luckily Percy survived and during that turbulent time, he said he always kept in mind what a palmist had told him when he was a boy growing up in St Leonards where he was born - that he would enjoy a long life.

After France, Percy served in the Far East and the Middle East.

As well as his Legion d’Honneur medal, Percy has five other medals for his service in the Second World war.

He also retains his Red Beret which the paratroopers wear.

A former machine-minder by occupation, Percy has a son and daughter, Tony and Diane, four grandchildren and seven grandchildren.

It was only two years ago, on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, that the French government decided to honour all surviving veterans of the campaign.

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