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About this Award…

An award to honour a person whose lifetime of dedicated service has provided a significant contribution in support of the Armed Forces Community.

The judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • An engaging story behind the person, what they have done and why they did it.
  • What differentiates their significant contribution and gives this person staying power. What challenges have been faced and how they have been overcome.
  • Great examples of achievements and dedicated service that can be held up as examples to others in the Armed Forces Community and potentially beyond.
  • The different or unique characteristics that sets this individual apart from others and therefore makes this nomination special.

This award is suitable for a person.

Meet our 2021 Winner!

George Batts MBE, Leg d’honneur

George has dedicated his life to providing for the welfare of the Normandy veteran community and was instrumental in the creation of the British Normandy Memorial – an achievement borne of his determined campaigning, fundraising and unwavering commitment.

Lifetime Achievement Award

D-Day Veteran George Batts was an 18-year-old Sapper when he landed on Gold Beach on D-Day, 6th June 1944. He survived the horrors, while many of his friends and comrades tragically died.

George has dedicated his life to providing for the welfare and camaraderie of the young men who came home, many bearing the physical and mental scars of war, and honouring the memory of those who did not. He became National Secretary and Treasurer of the Normandy Veterans’ Association, supporting his comrades and helping thousands of veterans to make an annual pilgrimage to Normandy.

Throughout his life, George maintained the ambition to build a worthy memorial in France to commemorate those that died on D-Day and in the subsequent Normandy Campaign. Seventy-seven years after the battle, his dream was realised when the British Normandy Memorial officially opened on 6th June 2021 – an achievement borne of George’s determined campaigning, fundraising, media engagement and unwavering dedication to the remembrance of the 22,442 servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Even at the age of 95, George has been actively involved in all aspects of this tremendous project and he continues to fundraise tirelessly for the preservation of the Memorial as Patron of the Guardian programme. In addition, he instigated the ‘Normandy Voices’ project to capture the memories of more than 170 surviving veterans for a comprehensive national archive.

George Batts said:

“Going to Normandy so many times – I was disappointed that the Americans had their own cemetery, the Canadians had their own cemetery, but for us to go and honour our mates there were 19 cemeteries to visit, so it was a heck of a journey round, and as you get older you can’t journey as much.  

I started canvasing in 2010-2011 for a memorial to cover everyone who was killed in the Normandy campaign. I didn’t get the support I wanted initially, but in September 2014, I wrote to David Cameron, he backed me, and I got £20million out of the LIBOR funds to start it, and now it’s finished. 

3 days ago I was in Normandy seeing it for the first time. It was so emotional, but at that time I couldn’t think. It was a couple of hours afterwards when it really hit home. I had approached so many people and got turned down, but there it was, with little me having started it all! I’m so proud of that. Also, may I please thank everybody who nominated and put me in the position of winner. I can’t express appreciation on that, if I do, I’ll start to cry!” 

Previous Winners:

2020 – The Not Forgotten

2019 – Douglas Hern

2018 – Neil Deaville

2017 – Meg Atkinson

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