SSAFA beneficiary awarded long overdue medals
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In December 1942 Private Ernest Aylott joined the Army, completing his basic training in the Lincolnshire Regiment.
Ernie then transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) where he was a lorry driver. On 8 June 1944, under enemy fire, he landed on Sword Beach Normandy, where he recalls driving a three-ton lorry carrying ammunition for 25 pounders.
On return to England Ernie trained and rebadged into 15 Parachute Regiment, to prepare for the crossing of the River Rhine. He was then sent to India with 15 Parachute Regiment and was demobbed on 5 April 1946. Following the war Ernie helped with repairing bomb damaged houses in South London.
Having retired to Dorset in 1989, it was the great pleasure of the North Dorset branch to organise an event for Ernie, so Lord Lieutenant for Dorset Angus Campbell could present the following medals in honour of his service during WW2: 1939 – 1945 Star; France and Germany Star; 1939 – 1945 War Medal; plus a Parachute Regiment Beret and beret badge.
In attendance were Ernie's immediate family, including wife Joan, sons Russell and Glen, as well as SSAFA representatives including Sally Cadec, John Barrett MBE, Nick Bate, Ernie’s caseworker, and Lt Col Nick Boyle Royal Signals.
Ernie has now received France's highest award, the Legion d'Honneur, for his part in the liberation of France during World War Two. His case worker Nick attended his home to present him with the medal and read a letter of appreciation from the French Ambassador in the presence of his family.
Mr Bate said: "Ernie was extremely modest and moved. It was a moving day and I have really enjoyed helping Ernie, a very deserving and lovely man."