World War II veteran Sir Joe Sutcliffe

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Photo: Shirley Nadeau from QCT archives

In March of this year, Joseph P. Sutcliffe was named a Knight of France’s Legion of Honour and was awarded a medal by a representative of the government of France.

Sir Joseph Patrick "Joe" Sutcliffe, whose interview with Irish Heritage Quebec was covered in our November 16, 2016, edition, was among the Canadians who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. His group of 100 sappers were among the first to land. Their job was to detect and neutralize landmines, a horribly dangerous task done manually while under fire! Of Sutcliffe's group, only 25 survived. 

Over 70 years later, in recognition of his involvement as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Allied invasion of Normandy during the Second World War, Sutcliffe was made a Chevalier dans l'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur (a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour) at a ceremony held at the Charles Forbes branch of the Royal Canadian Legion in Quebec City on Friday, March 4, 2016.

Upon receiving the medal, Sutcliffe said, "I am so happy; this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'll never forget it."   

The Legion of Honour is the highest French order for military and civil merits, and was founded in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. The award illustrates the French Republic's profound gratitude for the role Sutcliffe and his comrades played in the liberation of France during the Second World War.