Falkirk war veteran awarded France’s Legion of Honour aged 99

Jack Adamson proudly shows off his Legion of Honour medal. Picture by Michael Gillen
Jack Adamson proudly shows off his Legion of Honour medal. Picture by Michael Gillen

A 99-year-old war veteran from Falkirk has been awarded France’s highest order of merit for his service during the Second World War.

Jack Adamson was invited to a special ceremony at the French Embassy in Edinburgh to receive the Legion of Honour on Saturday, May 5.

The father-of-four was a member of the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch which arrived on the Normandy beaches in June 1944 — just three days before the famous D-Day landings on June 6.

In his early 20s, Jack would become part of the Allied forces which freed Europe from years of Nazi occupation.

A return visit to those same Normandy beaches last year with the British Legion and a chance conversation resulted in Jack being put forward for his Legion of Honour medal.

As well as his latest achievement, Jack has also been awarded six other medals for military service, namely: the 39-45 Star, Africa Star, Sicily and Italy Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal and General Service Medal.

Reflecting on his most recent award, he said: “It is an honour, especially when it’s the top award in France.

“I knew nothing about it. It was when we were over in France the retired colonel of the British Legion told me I was entitled to that medal because of when I landed in Normandy. Records were checked over in France and I got word I was getting the medal.

“There must have been about 100 people at the ceremony, it was a beautiful day.”

Jack was brought up in Falkirk’s Wallace Street and was aged just 19 when he was called up to serve in the army.

He and wife Isabelle, who served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, were granted a 48-hour leave to marry in 1944. After being demobilised in 1946, Jack returned to civilian life with Isabelle and the pair moved to Dundas Street in Grangemouth.

Jack, who initially worked as an iron moulder in Falkirk Foundry, later joined Grangemouth’s ICI chemical firm. The couple then found a home in Campfield Street, Falkirk with children Johnny (72), May (68), Morag (65) and Lorraine (59). After his wife died aged 67, Jack relocated and now lives in the town’s Bantaskine Street.

Daughter Morag told of her and her siblings’ delight at their dad’s award and said: “We’re very proud. When we were in France the people were so appreciative of my dad and the veterans. He was like a film star.”