The County You Live, Work And Play
War Hero Being Honoured
Gilbert Gray shows his Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur to daughter Gillian Virtue.
A Lanarkshire war hero who was awarded the highest military honour given out by the French government in December will be officially presented with his insignia on Friday 8th April.
Gilbert Gray (91) from Glassford was a flight engineer on a Lancaster Bomber who was sent into action on D-Day and he has been named a Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur.
Following the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the French government has been bestowing the honour on British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen who were involved in the liberation of France.
Gilbert already has his medal but it will be officially presented at the City Chambers in Glasgow.
He will be accompanied by his daughters Caroline Mackay ad Gillian Virtue, their husbands and his grandson Conor Virtue.
Gilbert said: “I think the family are more excited than I am. I have an RAF tie to wear, I have my medals and a decent jacket.”
Gilbert received four service medals: the 1939-45 Star with Bomber Command clasp, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the General Award Medal.
Gilbert and his crew flew 34 bombing missions in the course of three months and were part of 106 squadron within the RAF, who were sent to take out gun batteries on the Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, on D-Day.
In August 1944 106 Squadron flew alongside the Dambusters. They accompanied them to take out U-boat pens off the coast of France near Bordeaux.
Humble Gilbert does not think he did anything different from many other airmen. He said: “This is more of a token of appreciation from the French. We only did what a lot of others did.
“At the RAF organisations I’m a member of, we used to say we were on 70 years borrowed time as many of our lads didn’t get that chance.”