The Parish Church of Saint Matthew Big Lamp ~ Newcastle
Monsieur Cyril le Chevalier
It   is   with   pride   that   we   congratulate   Cyril   Coxon   on   being appointed    to    the    rank    of    Chevalier    in    Ordre    Nationale d’Honneur   (France)   for   his   part   in   the   Liberation   of   France at the end of the Second World War. Cyril   joined   the   Navy   at   the   age   of   seventeen   and   served   on a    ship    carrying    aircraft    parts    across    the    Atlantic    at    the beginning   of   the   War.      When   his   ship   was   sent   to   drydock, he   transferred   to   the   army   -   the   Royal   Scots   Fusiliers.      He took   part   in   te   D-Day   landings,   seeing   many   of   those   he knew   best   fall   at   his   side.      He   pushed   on   with   the   Allied advance   through   Europe.      He   was   heading   for   Belsen,   but   it was     decided     that     there were      sufficient      troops there;   but   his   course   took him   within   five   miles   of that   notorious   place,   from which   the   camp   could   be smelt.     Towards   the   end   of the       conflict       he       was fighting        with        Soviet soldiers     when     the     co- operation    between    the    Soviet    Union    and    the   Allies    began    to    crumble, creating hostilities between former comrades. The   Ordre   Nationale   d’Honneur   was   established   by   the   Emperor   Napoleon to   reward   those   who   had   given   particularly   distinguished   service   to   France.        It    is    usually    reserved    for    French    nationals;    but    can    in    exceptional circumstances   be   awarded   to   others.      The   letter   conferring   the   honour   on Cyril   reads,   This   high   honour   …   recognises   your   military   engagment and    steadfast    involvement    in    the    Liberation    of    France    during    the Second   World   War.   …   We   must   never   forget   the   heroes   like   you,   who came   from   Britain   and   the   Commonwealth   to   begin   the   liberation   of Europe   by   liberating   France.      We   owe   our   freedom   and   security   to your dedication …