A VETERAN Royal Navy sailor who lives in Helensburgh has been awarded France’s highest order of merit for his valuable service during the Second World War.

Ninety-five year-old Harry Johnson was presented with the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur at HM Naval Base Clyde.

Harry, originally from London, was presented with his medal by Emmanuel Cocher of the French Consul General on behalf of the President of France.

There to witness him receiving his award were some of Harry’s family and friends, among them his daughter Lindsey and her husband Stuart who had travelled from Dunfermline to attend the ceremony.

Harry joined the Royal Navy at 17, receiving basic naval training at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and specialist engineering training at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Devonport.

His first deployment, as a Lieutenant, was on HMS Enterprise, a Light Cruiser and the first five months were spent in working up for the forthcoming invasion.

The honour conferred by the Consul General was specifically for Harry's participation in the D-Day landings.

Speaking about his experiences, Harry said: “I remember waking at dawn on D-Day and going on deck to find the sea completely covered with ships and crafts of every conceivable shape, size and purpose, for as far as the eye could see and mostly heading for the beaches.

"The Enterprise was allocated to ' Utah' beach in the American sector and her first task was to soften up the beach defences and then to lay down fire ahead of the Allied advance.

“It is an honour to be presented with this award, however I also think of all those who died during and since the war and feel that many of them deserve this far more than I do.”

Harry left the Navy as a Commander in 1971, joining the Royal Naval Engineering Service, an MoD civilian organisation in support of the Navy.

Now living in Helensburgh, Harry spent 10 years at HM Naval Base Clyde, where he finished his career, retiring in 1982 as Chief Services Engineer at Faslane.

Warrant Officer 1 (WO1), Andy Knox, Command Warrant Officer Submarines at the base, thanked Harry for his service at HMS Neptune and presented him with one of the few remaining HMS Neptune crests and a very special bottle of 18-year-old malt whisky.

Andy said: “I was extremely privileged to be part of Commander Harry Johnson’s Légion d’Honneur presentation at HMNB Clyde.

"It was a truly humbling experience for all involved and a very proud moment for Harry.

“This was the second Légion d’Honneur presentation that I have had the honor of attending in recent weeks and reminds me of how proud we should all be of our true heroes.”