Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 4°C

Search

‘Ganges Boy’ Laurence Peachey, 91, receives Légion d’Honneur ‘for the guys who lost their lives’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 30 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:21 30 June 2017

Felixstowe veteran Laurence Peachey has received the Legion d'Honneur medal. 
L-R Dicky Bird, Roy Brockman, Laurence Peachey, Mayor of Felixstowe Nick Barber, Alan Leech.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Felixstowe veteran Laurence Peachey has received the Legion d'Honneur medal. L-R Dicky Bird, Roy Brockman, Laurence Peachey, Mayor of Felixstowe Nick Barber, Alan Leech. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A “Ganges Boy” and D-Day veteran who made a wartime Channel crossing with Winston Churchill has received France’s highest military honour.

Mr Peachey attended the presentation with relatives. 
L-R Paul and Gill Peachey, Laurence Peachey, David and Eileen Peachey.
Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Mr Peachey attended the presentation with relatives. L-R Paul and Gill Peachey, Laurence Peachey, David and Eileen Peachey. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Laurence Peachey, 91, who now lives in Felixstowe, was presented the Légion d’Honneur by the town’s mayor Nick Barber at a recent ceremony.

Mr Peachey said he was “very proud” of the award, which follows a D-Day anniversary commitment to honour veterans who fought for France’s freedom.

“I don’t pretend I’m any kind of hero,” Mr Peachey said. “And although I’m proud to own this medal, I wear it on behalf of all the guys who lost their lives.”

Mr Peachey, who comes from Thurston, signed up in 1943 when he was 18 years old. He trained at HMS Ganges, Shotley, and then Chatham in Kent. Aboard HMS Kelvin, Mr Peachey performed minesweeping duties in the English Channel, before serving in Alexandria, Egypt.

Mr Peachey served during the D-Day landings.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Mr Peachey served during the D-Day landings. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

One of his greatest memories came towards the end of the war when his ship carried the Prime Minister Winston Churchill to France. “It was wonderful,” he said. “He sat on the upper deck and chatted with all the crew – he was very down to earth.”

Mr Peachey said the D-Day landings were kept secret until the last minute. “We left England and the captain said ‘this is the big one, there’s no turning back’.” He said it was “quite exciting” setting off but “a different story” on arrival. His mission was to shell the beach to destroy mines for the troops to land. “The noise from the guns and everything else was horrendous,” he added.

After D-Day, Mr Peachey continued with HMS Solebay in the Home Fleet, spending his 21st birthday in a defeated Germany.

Returning to Suffolk, he married Betty Woolnough with whom he had two sons – Paul and David.

He worked at a nursery in Thurston and his father-in-law’s farm, before making stramit boards in Stowmarket and later joining ICI in the town.

Mr Peachey moved to Felixstowe after Betty’s death.

He was first told of the Legion d’Honneur in 2014 – when, as part of 70th anniversary D-Day commemorations, the French President announced it would go to all British veterans who fought for the liberation of France.

“I thought I would never receive it,” he said. “The a few weeks ago I got an official letter to say I would. I feel very proud.”

Urgent action is being taken to recruit and retain clinicians within GP surgeries in Ipswich and east Suffolk as NHS bosses warn of an impending workforce crisis.

A key road in Ipswich will remain closed “for the foreseeable future” over fears about the stability of a building in the area.

The campaign to compensate women who lost years of pension contributions has been backed by Ipswich council.

A woman has been taken to hospital after she was involved in a collision with a van in a Suffolk town today.

A live hand grenade, a stuffed tarantula in a cage and a voodoo kit containing human hair are among the quirkiest donations to an Ipswich charity shop.

Former pupils from Northgate Grammar School have reunited for an afternoon in Ipswich.

The daughter of former US president Barack Obama is reportedly dating a teenager from Suffolk.

The Orwell Bridge in Ipswich closed last night at 10pm due to strong winds, it then reopened at 5.30am this morning when wind speeds fell to an acceptable level. Is there any chance of this happening again tonight?

Police have released online safety advice for shoppers looking for a bargain on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Road users – especially commuters – gave a huge sigh of relief when the Orwell Bridge re-opened early on Thursday morning after an overnight closure because of high winds.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24