War veteran Ken to receive French honour

Proud - Ken Hobbs
Proud - Ken Hobbs

A D-Day veteran from Eastbourne is to receive the highest honour from the French government for his work during the Second World War.

Ken Hobbs, of Priory Road, told the Herald he was delighted to be receiving the Legion d’Honneur.

Mr Hobbs, now 92, landed on Sword Beach when he was just 21. Sword Beach was the furthest east of the five beaches targeted for D-Day.

Mr Hobbs was a frontline driver for the Royal Army Service Corps and he told the Herald about his experiences.

He said, “We drove up the beach and there were bodies and limbs around.

“The sea was covered in blood.

“We had to get out and move the bodies out the way so we didn’t drive over them. Whether they are German or English, friend or foe, they are someone’s son, brother or husband.”

He explained that he had lost many friends to the war and joked, “They asked me how did you not get killed and I told them I headed the bullets out the way.”

He added, “I said the Germans couldn’t kill everyone because they wouldn’t have anyone to fight with.”

He said he once jumped from his lorry moments before it was blown up and explained his father, William Hobbs, had done the same thing in the First World War.

Mr Hobbs said his work was not over at the end of the war. Instead he was tasked with the gutsy work of recording the names from the tags of dead soldiers in Paris before they were laid to rest.

Mr Hobbs will soon receive his award from the French authorities.

Tom Drummond, chairman of the Westham, Pevensey and Stone Cross Royal British Legion branch, said, “I think we were more excited than Ken when we heard.

“They were all clapping like mad.”

Mr Drummond presented Mr Hobbs with a bottle of whisky and commemorative D-Day glasses to celebrate.

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