Trafford's Mayor, Cllr Judith Lloyd said it was "a delight and an honour" to present 94 year-old Shipmate Fred Garner with his Legion of Honour medal, at a moving ceremony at Trafford Town Hall earlier this week.
Joined by family, friends and fellow shipmates, Shipmate Garner said he felt proud, yet humbled to receive the medal, France's highest decoration.
“I was a veteran of the D-Day campaign, patrolling the English Channel on HMS Pursuer to stop any German U-Boat attacks and also providing air support for our invading fleets. I feel highly honoured to receive the insignia Legion d'Honneur for my involvement in the liberation of France during the second World War"
He and his late wife Rita had two children, Pam and Colin, seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren. Present at the ceremony were Pam and Peter Kelley (daughter and son in law), Colin Garner (son), Sam Gandy (grandson), Amber Hartly and Sara-Jane Kelley (grand-daughters) and Eileen and George Veitch, together with Vikki Hollings partner to grandson Jamie Kelley. Also present were members of Trafford Royal Naval Association and the Greater Manchester Fleet Air Arm Association.
Shipmate Garner's illustrious naval career began when he joined the Royal Navy in 1941, aboard HMS Raleigh. He then entered the Royal Naval Engineering School on HMS President, before being transferred to the Fleet Air Arm Branch of the Royal Navy.
After serving on-board HMS Blackcap and at RAF Wroughton in Wiltshire, he went to sea on escort carrier HMS Pursuer, as part of 896 Squadron.
He was awarded the Ushakov medal from the Russian Government after taking part in the Atlantic Convoys. His wartime service also saw him take part in the attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in northern Norway, the invasion of Sicily, southern France and the D-Day Landings. It was for this service that the French Government awarded him the Legion of Honour.
Later Shipmate Garner served on HMS Malagas in South Africa, before returning to the UK, where he was stationed in Fife on HMS Daedalus. He was discharged from the Royal Navy in 1946.
Locally, Shipmate Garner is a founder member of the Trafford branch of the Royal Naval Association and in 2013 became its President and father.
He is also a founder member of the Greater Manchester Fleet Air Arm Association.
Branch Secretary of the Royal Naval Association Trafford Branch, Shipmate Charles Hutton, said it went without saying that Shipmate Garner was held in the highest regard and was respected by all his fellow shipmates for his contribution during his naval career and afterwards within the Association.
Posted on Monday 9th January 2017