Top ‘honneur’ for Ted

Old soldier Ted Bootle has a favourite tale to tell about his part in the D-Day landings.

He was 19 or 20 years old when he landed with the Army Service Corp attached to the 6th Airborne Division.

His job was to drive a five-ton truck to the troops at the Pegasus Bridge, which on occasions brought him under German fire. “No, I wasn’t scared. There was no time to be scared,” he said.

When he arrived he was met by a major who asked what he’d got in the truck.

“Ammunition, food and medical supplies,” Ted replied.

“Good,” said the major, “because we have just run out of ammo.”

He was so pleased he took Ted to a cafe where he had his first glass of Calvados - and then another.

All that happened in 1944, and now he has received France’s top honour for his service.

Although his medal - the Legion D’Honneur - only arrived in the post, he hopes to receive it officially in the grand surroundings of the French embassy in London. Asked how he felt about the addition to the “nine or ten medals I’ve already got”, he said: “Proud. But it is a bit late - 70 years, isn’t it?

Called up in 1943, he learned to drive during his Army training. As the Allied assault pressed on, he crossed the River Rhine and was serving on the Baltic Coast when VE Day was celebrated.

He was on a troop ship in the Mediterranean when victory over Japan was declared and escaped that theatre of war.

“I was lucky, wasn’t I? Someone up there was looking after me.”

Demobbed in 1947, he took any job he could to support his wife and two sons. He eventually settled in Laxfield and while living there he joined the Royal British Legion.

Although now 92 and living in Lowestoft with one of his sons, he remains president of the Stradbroke RBL.