A retired Saint John doctor was among 14 New Brunswick veterans honoured Tuesday for his work during the Second World War
Dr. Frederick George received the French National Order of the Legion of Honour for his role in liberating France.
The 97-year-old says he remembers it like it was yesterday.
"I knew I might die and be killed,” he said. “But it didn't handicap me. It was just a mental thing as far as I was concerned."
George was a Dalhousie Medical School graduate when he went to Normandy in 1944 to treat wounded soldiers on the front lines. He still remembers many of them well.
"One of the fellas came through, he was on a stretcher of course. And the right side of his skin all blown off and the arm was just hanging by the nerves and the vessels,” he said. “He was just a young fellow. I'm sure he died afterwards, but we dressed his wounds and sent him back."
Over 70 years later, the French government is decorating George and 13 other New Brunswick vets with Rank of Knights of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour. The award is similar to the Order of Canada, and is given to veterans for their role in liberating France.
Nominated by Saint John Legion
George was nominated by Saint John Legion district commander Larry Lynch. He says it's important to recognize all the jobs veterans did during the war.
"We give the recognition to the guys who got up front and stood their ground against the Germans but the ones who were back were in just as much peril and danger,” he said. “Because they were going on the beaches, they were taking care of the wounded while the shells and bombs were coming down around them. They had to be a very brave group to do that."
For George, it's an unexpected honour.
"It gives you a sense that you achieved something. And it's a declaration that I probably would never have received if I hadn't been in the army. I often thought of it but I never expected to be nominated, really,” he said.