A 97-year-old Irish veteran soldier of the D-Day landings has been given the highest honour available by the French government recently.
The heroic soldier John (Jack) Mahony received the honorary title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur at a special ceremony in Midleton yesterday. War veteran Mr Mahony, originally from Laharan near Killarney, but now resides in Midleton County Cork, was just one of the man brave soldiers who landed on Gold Beach in Normandy on D-Day, 6th June 1944. Mr Mahony bravely took part in the heroic fight that liberated Caen, and was part of a unit that got captured in Venlo whilst advancing towards Belgium and the Netherlands to support the soldiers liberating Arnhem Mr Mahony then bravely spent the next two years in a number of prisoner-of-war camps before he was liberated by the Soviet Army. Mr Mahony then joined British forces to serve the rest of his military career before demobilisation in 1945.
Mr Mahony was presented with the highest award the French government can bestow on a soldier by the French Deputy Ambassador to Ireland Philippe Ray at a special ceremony in Mr Mahony’s favourite golf club in East Cork yesterday afternoon. The Deputy Ambassador paid tribute to the irish veteran in his speech saying: Mr Mahony’s extraordinary story is a testimony to the courage of all men and women refuse to give up and who uphold the principles they live by. Ambassador Ray also said Mr Mahony’s story is a reminder that Europe’s security and fundamental values should never be taken for granted as he recalled the terrorist attacks in Paris, and paid tribute to all the victims of recent attacks.
Meanwhile a honoured Mr Mahony told those in attendance that he was deeply honoured and moved to receive the award which he would treasure. A minutes silence was also held to pay tribute to those who tragically lost their lives in last months Paris terrorist attacks.