A BLIND World War Two veteran received the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur last Tuesday for helping liberate France from Nazi occupation.
Schera Masters, 97, from Ilford, was given France’s highest order by Madame Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to the UK, in a ceremony at her Kensington Palace Gardens address.
Schera said: “I feel very proud to have received this award; I’m grateful that the president of France has awarded all the people that contributed to their liberation in 1944. Moreover, I’m overjoyed that both my daughters were able to attend with my wife and I. Peta-Louise, who lives in Australia, managed to extend her stay so that she could attend, while Georgina travelled all the way from Canada to be with me.”
Mr Masters might not have heard of the award had it not been for Blind Veterans UK.
The charity, which has been supporting Mr Masters, informed him that he was a potential recipient, beginning the process of receiving the award.
Schera said: “We only heard about the award a few months ago. Blind Veterans UK got in touch to tell me I might be eligible, so my wife wrote to the Ministry of Defence and then, about a month ago, we were informed that my application had been successful. It was an incredible moment for both me and my family.”
The World War Two veteran’s family watched on with pride as he received the award given to all British soldiers who freed France from the Nazis, following a ruling by the French government in 2014.
Schera was called into the army on December 1 1939, before being deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force in February 1940.
Schera was forced to evacuate the country shortly after Dunkirk on his own after becoming separated from the rest of his men.
He was able to escape back to Plymouth after making his way to Saint Azur. He then spent a short while recuperating on the Yorkshire Dales.
Schera also played a part in the Battles of Tobruk and El-Alamein and the invasion of Salerno, Italy, before spending 18 months in the country.