NOSTALGIA: Eastbourne war veteran gets France’s top military honour

Ernest Frobisher with the Legion D'Honneur
Ernest Frobisher with the Legion D'Honneur
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Eastbourne resident Ernest Frobisher was recently presented with France’s top military honour, the Legion d’Honneur, for his service in Normandy in the Second World War.

His son-in-law Paul Marsden said 96-year-old Mr Frobisher has given much service to both his country and the community.

“This included being a founder member, then secretary and eventually chair of the Eastbourne Normandy Veterans, covering a period of 17 years until its closure in 2010 due to dwindling numbers.

“You will find him a justly proud man who seeks no reward for his time and efforts throughout his life,” said Mr Marsden.

The medal was presented to Mr Frobisher by Capitaine François Jean, Consul Honoraire de France, in the presence of Peter Field the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex in January at the British Legion, Seaford.

Mr Frobisher said, “I served in the 2nd  Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment as a corporal in the Headquarters Company. “I came ashore via landing craft at Sword Beach near Luc Sur-Mer on June 14 1944.

“It was very chaotic and through misdirection found myself about to deliver essential stores to a German position from which I beat a hasty retreat.

“In early July the Battalion took part in Operation Charnwood as part of 185 Infantry Brigade to retake Caen; my main duties involved the re-supply of ammunition, fuel and rations to the front line companies, mainly at night. “Although I came under artillery attack from time to time, luckily there were no casualties in the HQ area. In the middle of July we took part in Operation Goodwood.

“Resupply was challenging and often did not complete until the early hours.

“At the end of July we became part of the 3 Division reserve for the push through France to Holland.”

At the end of the war in Europe, Mr Frobisher was sent to the Middle East and Geneifa, Egypt, until October 1946 when he was discharged from the Army.

After the war, Mr Frobisher continued to give voluntary service to his community.

From 1957 to 1968 he was a Special Constable attaining the rank of sergeant with Peterborough Police. He was also involved with St John Ambulance in Peterborough and St Raphael’s Club for the Disabled where he was a driver and on the committee.

He was a founding member, secretary and latterly chair of Eastbourne Normandy Veterans.

Mr Frobisher moved to Eastbourne in 1970 and worked for the Royal Alfred Merchants Seaman Charity initially as manager of the attached hotel and latterly as the residential services manager of the Retired Seaman’s home.

In this role he was instrumental in numerous support functions such as organising fund raising and giving up his time to take residents on day trips.