A 98-YEAR-old war veteran has finally received his medals after more than 70 years.

Colin Palmer received his 1939 to 1945 Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal at a ceremony held at the Worcester Guildhall yesterday, presented by Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Major General Mark Armstrong. Mr Palmer was also awarded the Legion D’honneur by the Honorary French Consul, Robert Mille, which is the highest French military and civil award.

As part of the Joining Forces programme, representatives of Age UK Herefordshire and Worcestershire met with Mr Palmer in a bid to help him claim his medals, which he didn’t receive after the war.

Mr Palmer said: “It feels nice to finally get my medals. It’s better late than never. It’s been a very special day.” Mr Palmer previously declined the medals as he was suffering from post traumatic stress.

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He served as a private soldier in the British Army from 1941 until 1946. His role was as a motorcycle messenger attached to a West Yorkshire tank regiment. Following the breakout of Allied forces from Normandy in August 1944 he served throughout the rest of the Western European campaign.

In October 1944, he suffered burn injuries and was sent back to England for treatment. Once recovered he returned to his motorcycle unit.

In April 1945, during the advance into Germany towards Hamburg, he was an eyewitness to the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He subsequently helped in evacuating the survivors for medical treatment.

In May, he observed the surrender of German forces in the west on Luneburg Heath.He was in training for the invasion of Japan when the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima precipitated Japan’s surrender.

Following the end of the war one of his tasks was to transport refugees and ex-prisoners of war to Konigsberg (now Kaliningrad), East Prussia far inside the Soviet zone.

Mr Palmer, accompanied by daughter Jane, took part in the recent national D Day commemoration events. The pair travelled on SS Boudicca to Normandy, on the Royal British Legion organised trip. Ms Palmer said: “My dad didn’t talk about the war for 50 years. He always had nightmares, and he still has post traumatic shock.” Kevin Greenway, from Age UK, said: “Colin is a remarkable man and a living part of history. We were saddened to hear he did not have any of his medals from that time, so, with family agreement, we applied for and secured Colin’s WW2 campaign medals. Colin truly deserves these awards.”