The French Consul General awarded the Légion d’Honneur to the men – who are all in their 90s – for their part in the liberation of France in June 1944.

Bill Ward, 91, who served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, arrived on the beaches on D-Day and was shocked by the scene.

He said: “When I arrived and saw all of these bodies, I was thankful that I was still alive.” He was injured after three months when a shell exploded, blowing shrapnel through his steel helmet and deafening him, but he served in the army for two and a half years.

“I don’t feel that I justify this honour,” he added. “To me, the heroes are the ones in the graveyards in Normandy.”