The beautiful George McAuliffe, a World War II veteran who has just received France's highest military award at a service in Australia


Please meet the beautiful George McAuliffe, a World War II veteran who has just received France's highest military award at a service in Australia.

George McAuliffe, 90, grew up in Winstanley Road, Battersea and hid his real age to join the Royal Navy in 1943 He served on Juno Beach in the D-Day landings, staying there for six weeks afterwards until he returned to Britain to re-group for other landings.

He and his family moved to Adelaide in the 1960s, where he still lives now. He received the French Légion d’Honneur, or Legion of Honor, on July 15, at a Bastille Day ceremony in Adelaide, to mark his service.

Mr McAuliffe told the Adelaide Advertiser it was an "emotional day".

He was reunited with Frederick Killick, under whose guidance he served at the Normandy landings, having been his best man just months before.

Speaking about the D-Day landings, he said: "I remember it was dark and rough when we got to shore and there was heavy gunfire, but we survived.

"There was gunfire both ways, from inland and also from the sea, so we were caught in between.

"Fortunately, we didn't lose too many because there weren't many of us at the time. It is nice now to be recognised."

The awards were presented by ambassador Christophe Lecourtier on behalf of president Francois Hollande at the Adelaide Town Hall.

Mr Lecourtier said: "Their names will find their way in the Pantheon amongst those that deserve the utmost respect from our old nation.

"It is a way to remember what Australia and the United Kingdom has been able to do for my country, a country that twice in a generation became the ultimate battle field, where two different ideas of mankind and also of power and glory were struggling against each other.

"It is a way to express once again, as loudly as possible, how deeply grateful France is for the sacrifice of these young men and women.

"You all have supported your mates and risked your lives, making the landing and the advance of Allied divisions possible, in spite of heavy resistance from Nazi troops occupying France."

Mr McAuliffe was honoured alongside Mr Killick, Tennyson Turner, and Richard McClellend.

On behalf of The Greatest Generations Foundation and its members, congratulations on receiving France's Highest Military Award. "You are a true hero."

Remember Those Who Served
The Greatest Generations Foundation