A WAR hero has been given France’s highest military honour – after he already received prestigious gongs from the British and the Dutch.
Angus Mitchell, 92, has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur for his role in liberating the country from the Nazis.
It was presented to him by Emmanuel Cocher, Consul General of France, in the Capital on Saturday – the anniversary of war breaking out in 1939.
President François Hollande pledged in 2014 to honour all British veterans who had served in France during the Second World War. Mr Mitchell said: “One half of me is very proud of getting such a great honour. But the other half of me is upset about all my comrades who have since passed away who have missed out.
“I feel very sorry for all those families. No doubt my parents hoped [the war] would have been over before I was called up. But it wasn’t to be.”
Remarkably, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur is Mr Mitchell’s third decoration for his role in liberating western Europe.
He was also awarded the Military Cross by the UK and is a Ridder (Knight) in the Dutch Order of Oranje-Nassau.
Mr Mitchell was a 19-year-old Lieutenant in the Inns of Court Regiment in the summer of 1944, commanding an armoured car in France just after the D-Day landings as the Germans were pushed out of Normandy.
The fierce combat leader spent his 20th birthday in hospital after being wounded in the face by sniper fire.
Returning to duty, he was involved in an action which resulted in him being honoured by the Dutch.
On September 26, 1944 he led his armoured car troop in liberating the town of Boxmeer, first entering the town on a bicycle to check if the Germans had left.
He was later awarded the Order of Oranje-Nassau which has the title of “Ridder” in Dutch and “Knight” in English, but is not equivalent to a British knighthood.
Continuing on the advance towards Germany, he was involved in heavy fighting right up to the final days of the war.
He was recognised by the British Army with the Military Cross for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”.
After the war, Mr Mitchell graduated from Oxford University and went on to a career in the Scottish Office, where he became Secretary of the Scottish Education Department.
He later became Chair of the Court of Stirling University and now lives in St Margaret’s Care Home in Edinburgh with his wife Ann, 93, who also had a key wartime role as a cryptographer, helping to decode Enigma messages at Bletchley Park.
Their four children, several grandchildren and other family members attended the medal presentation ceremony.
Mr Mitchell’s Military Cross citation states: “From the Normandy Landings until the completion of this campaign, except for a period of a fortnight when he was away suffering from wounds, this officer has commanded a troop of armoured cars with conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.
“At all times his skill and dash has been exceptional, and his behaviour under fire over a long period has been a wonderful example to his men.”