Centre Hastings Mayor Tom Deline attended the presentation of an honour medal to World War II veteran Neil Bell, accompanied by his wife Jean, at the annual veterans dinner at Madoc Branch 363 of the Royal Canadian Legion, April 19. MP Daryl Kramp made the presentation.
This is the third year Madoc Branch 363 Royal Canadian Legion has hosted dinner in honour of local veterans in April to coincide with the Battle of Vimy Ridge remembrance ceremonies.
Neil Bell, at the age of 92, is now the eldest of local veterans. Bell drove a self-propelled artillery gun at the battle of the Falaise Gap in France during the August 1944 battle to subdue German troops
April 19, 2015 ,at the veteran’s dinner, Neil was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, by order of the President of the Republic of France.
A letter from Phillippe Zeller, Ambassador of France to Canada, states, “The distinction illustrates the profound gratitude France would like to express to you … in recognition of your involvement in [the] liberation of our country … France remembers the sacrifice [of] all of your compatriots who came to liberate French soil, often losing their lives in the process.” Eighteen thousand Canadians were injured or died in that battle to liberate France. Neil Bell was one who returned safely home.
Stan speaks: Those of us who partook in the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 2014 will have fond memories of Neil. Quiet, unassuming, courteous would be words that come to mind when we think of Neil. On the left is a pic I took of the 4 WW II vets on the 70th Anniversary Tour.
On the right: Edgar Bedard, now deceased, 3rd Infantry Divison, from Sault Ste. Marie ON, landed June 6th, 1944; Arthur Boon, 3rd Infantry Division, Stratford, ON, landed June 6th, 1944; Ted Paisley of the 4th Arm Davison, Petrolia, ON, Dispatch Rider, landed July 13th, 1944; and Neil Bell, extreme left, 4th Arm Div. from Madoc ON, 23rd Field Regiment, Sexton self-propelled gun, Gunner, 36 Battery Charlie Troop, landed Jul6 26, 1944. Pic is taken in front of a Sexton Self Propelled Gun.
Congratulations Neil, from all Canadians, on the Award presented to you by the President of the Republic of France in recognition of your Significant Contribution.
Stan McCormack. (click on pic to expand) To read all postings I made during the 70th Anniversary Tour, enter 70th into the search rectangle and hit search. 2015 07 02.