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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3969


Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (13:36): I rise to talk about a very important event in my electorate recently. It was such an absolute privilege to present the French Legion of Honour to Mr Rob Jenkins, a 92-year-old gentleman who lives at Clothiers Creek in my electorate of Richmond. Of course, this order is France's highest decoration. Indeed, it is usually reserved for its own citizens. On this occasion, the award recognised Mr Jenkins's service as a wireless operator in the 463rd squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II, in which he completed 26 bombing missions over France and Germany in 1944 and 1945.

At the event for presenting the Legion of Honour a number of pieces of correspondence were read out. I would like to read from one from the French embassy:

France will never forget the thousands of soldiers who came to fight on French battlefields and we still remain grateful today. It was in this regard that the President of the French Republic opened the Legion of Honour to World War Two veterans to pay tribute and to express France's gratitude towards soldiers who risked their lives for the liberation of France.

I thank Mr Jenkins for his service and also thank his family for inviting me to what was a truly special occasion.

After the war Mr Jenkins returned to Sydney, where he met his wife of 64 years, Patricia, who was there with the whole family to celebrate. The couple now have four children, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Thank you for your service, Mr Jenkins.