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Local veteran awarded Legion of Honour [George Smith]



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

M i n i s t e r f o r V e t e r a n s ’ A f f a i r s

M i n i s t e r A s s i s t i n g t h e M i n i s t e r f o r D e f e n c e

T H E H O N. D E - A N N E K E L L Y B E M P

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone: (02) 6277 7820 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4140

VA211 Tuesday 15 November 2005

LOCAL VETERAN AWARDED LEGION OF HONOUR

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, has congratulated George Smith as one of 10 Australian veterans awarded the Legion of Honour by the French Government in recognition of the role he played in the liberation of France during World War II.

Mrs Kelly, said Mr Smith was presented with his decoration by the French Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Francois Descoueyte at a ceremony yesterday in Sydney.

“I am proud that the French Government has recognised the service of Mr Smith.

“This presentation honours not only Mr Smith, but all Australian servicemen and women who fought for the peace and democracy both our countries value so highly.”

Mr Smith joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 and was left the RAAF Reserve in 1947. He trained in Australia and Canada as an aircrew wireless operator and bomb aimer. He was sent to United Kingdom in 1944, where his first operations were in support of the Allied breakout from the Normandy beachhead following the D-Day landings.

Australian service men and women fought in all theatres of World War II, including the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944.

“Mr Smith served during the liberation of France, where he served with courage and distinction,” Mrs Kelly said.

“These 10 veterans represent the three armed forces, the merchant navy and the thousands of Australian servicemen and women who served during World War II.

“We are very proud of Mr Smith, and it reminds us that France remembers those who came to her aid.

“This is an opportunity to renew a friendship between our countries that was forged in war and has endured beyond that time.”

Media contact: Craig Clarke 0417 889 423