Thomas Bernard Fowles, 97, of Clive, near Wem, who is known as Bert, was 20 when he signed up to the army.He was part of the 101 Company, Corps of Military Police and helped keep the roads open so ambulances and supplies could get through to the soldiers on the front line. During the Second World War the Military Police grew from 4,121 to more than 50,000 within six major branches of specialists. The Royal Military Police were required to provide tactical military police support to the army in military operations.
Mr Fowles was in a company that specialised in traffic control. He didn’t take part in the D-Day landings but was shipped over two weeks later. He also helped with crossing the Rhine in Germany in 1945. Mr Fowles, was awarded the L‘Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur at a special ceremony at Sansaw Hall, near Hadnall, yesterday joined by his family and friends. He said: “I didn’t land on D-day but helped in marshalling the troops over. We arrived a fortnight later. “I signed up at the age of 20 and was in the military police for five years. “We helped to keep the roads open by assisting with break-downs etc. We also guarded bridges and made sure the roads were open so ambulances and supplies could get to the front line.” He was presented with the honour by Robert Mille, French Consul in Birmingham who said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege to be presenting this prestigious award to Mr Fowles.
“Since January 2015 I have presented quite a few and it is always a lovely thing to do. Mr Fowles is so modest as what he did was an enormous feat.” James Thompson, from Sansaw Estate, said he was ‘honoured’ to be able to host the ceremony. “Bert is well known in the area and a real character,” said James. “When we heard he was going to be presented with the Legion d’Honneur we asked if we could host it at Sansaw Hall as a way of paying our own tribute to such a remarkable man. “You will never hear Bert talk about his experiences in Normandy but it is only right and fitting that we mark such an occasion in this way.” Mr Fowles latest medal now sits proudly along his four other service medals.