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France to Present Legion of Honour to Veteran in Duncan

France will present its highest honour to a World War II veteran living in Duncan later this month.

On November 17, Ferdinand Labrie of Duncan will receive the Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Nicolas Baudouin, Consul General of France in Vancouver, will make the presentation to Labrie at a ceremony in the Sunridge Place care home in Duncan.

This year is the 80th anniversary of the raid on the French coastal city of Dieppe in 1942, and the Consulate of France in Vancouver says special efforts have been made to locate Canadian veterans of Dieppe.

The landing at Dieppe took place on August 19, 1942, and nearly 5,000 of the 6,100 troops were Canadians.

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Of the Canadians who took part in the operation, only 2,210 returned to England, many of them wounded.

There were 1,946 prisoners of war, and 916 Canadians lost their lives.

The Consulate says Labrie was involved in the operation, though his regiment was not sent ashore.

Labrie was assigned to an intelligence unit as a cipher specialist.

Nearly two years later he would later go ashore at Juno Beach during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

The Consulate says the distinction, the country’s highest national order, “illustrates the profound gratitude that France wishes to express to him. It is awarded in recognition of personal involvement in the liberation of the country during the Second World War.”

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“Through veterans like Mr. Labrie, France remembers the sacrifice of all Canadians who came to liberate it. The people of France will never forget.”

There are five classes of the Legion of Honour: Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, and Knight.

The Consulate says anyone who knows of a Canadian veteran who took part in operations in France during the Second World War can contact the French Embassy in Ottawa, as these veterans could be eligible for the Legion of Honour.

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