A top military honour for former mayor Roy

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A former mayor was presented with France’s highest military honour on the day the nation fell silent to remember those who lost their lives at war.

He was awarded the Chevalier class of the award by the French Ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann.

Mr Beckett’s daughter Lynne Beckett-Murphy and son-in-law Gerald Murphy said: “We were very proud and privileged to witness such an honour being bestowed on Roy from the French government.”

Mr Beckett, 93, joined the Royal Navy in 1940 and, after initial training in Lincolnshire, was transferred to a British base in Ayrshire to train as a wireless operator.

He was then seconded to the Free French Naval Forces ship Aconite, which escorted and protected convoys around the North Atlantic. In March 1943 one of the convoy ships came under attack from German U-boats. But the Aconite helped to destroy two of the boats, with help from other warships.

Mr Beckett, who is a member of the Featherstone branch of the Royal British Legion, was then assigned to destroyer HMS Kelvin in 1944.

He operated in waters around the UK and North Atlantic.

And he was stationed with the ship when it provided a protective escort for then Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he headed to Crimea with US President Franklin Roosevelt and Russian leader Joseph Stalin for the Yalta Conference in 1945.

Mrs Beckett-Murphy said: “Dad was very proud to be acknowledged for what he did with the highest honour.

“He was very over-awed by the day.”