Fred collects his service medals
Caring Times, October 2013
Humble D-Day veteran receives WWII medals after 70-year wait
CLS-run care home Astbury Lodge celebrated a remarkable event recently as WWII D-Day veteran, Fred Mullis, wore his medals for the very first time – almost 70 years after the conflict ended.
An emotional Fred, now 88, was joined by family and fellow residents for a special presentation ceremony led by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Busby, Commanding Officer 156 (North West) Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps. The guest of honour was also treated to a well-deserved buffet knees-up and a slice of a medal-themed cake.
Fred, originally from South East England, first volunteered for the Armed Guard two weeks before his 18th Birthday, before going on to drive ‘Duck’ vehicles, the famous, six-wheel drive amphibious DUKW trucks, all over Europe and North Africa for the Royal Army Service Corps.
One of Fred’s strongest memories is driving a ‘Duck’ to the shores of Normandy four days after D-Day to bring supplies, including food and ammunition, to the soldiers.
Commenting on why he never claimed his heroic mementoes, Astbury Lodge resident Fred, said: “When I came back from the war I just got back to my ‘civvy’ life – it was always something I just put off doing, but I’m so happy I have them now.
“Today’s been a fantastic day. I’m going to polish my medals and want to hold on to them for a little while yet.”
When Astbury Lodge, the residential home where Fred has lived since 2010, heard about Fred’s special event, the staff wanted to make sure that it was a day to remember. Banners, bunting and even an authentic Normandy flag and bearer were part of the celebrations, organised by Susan Lewis, Activities Coordinator, to ensure that Fred got the wonderful day that he deserved.
Robert Black, Managing Director of North West based care provider, CLS Care Services, said: “We’re delighted that Fred enjoyed his day and that we were able to support his family’s wishes in making this a once-in-a-lifetime event. Recognising the personal wishes of individual residents is so important to people’s well being, and in this case it was great to be able to help Fred relive his story and claim the medals as part of the legacy he wants to be able to leave to his family. It’s a remarkable story!”
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Busby, Commanding Officer 156 (North West) Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, said it was an honour to present a true hero with his medals: “To present Fred with his much-deserved medals was a unique experience for me, and one I will remember for a long time to come. It would be wonderful to see Fred and his medals at the St George’s Plateau, in Liverpool, on 11 November.”
An incredibly humble Fred, added: “To be honest, I don’t really feel like I earned my medals – I just did my service and duties like everybody else – even so, it’s so good to have them after all this time!”