Furlong honoured by French government

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Installed as Knight of the French National Order

An Amherst D-Day campaign veteran has been honoured by the French government.

Harold Furlong holds a letter and medal he received from the French government installing him as a Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour. The 93-year-old Amherst man served in the days following the D-Day landings in 1944 before being severely wounded near Caen a month into the Normandy campaign.

AMHERST – Harold Furlong still has vivid memories of his short, but intense fight through northern France 70 years ago.

Going ashore three days after the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, Furlong fought with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders for more than a month before being severely wounded near Caen in July and taken off the frontlines.

The French government has recognized his efforts with a letter awarding him the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

“When I got it I didn’t know what it was all about,” said the 93-year-old Furlong. “When I got the first letter I sort of chucked it aside, but then I got another letter from the French government with the medal.”

The letter says the award was awarded “in recognition of your professional involvement in the liberation of our country. Through you, France remembers the sacrifice of all your compatriots who came to liberate France soil often losing their lives in the process.”

Furlong said it’s an honour to receive the medal, but says he still feels for those friends and fellow soldiers who didn’t make it home from D-Day and the months that followed until the end of the Second World War in May 1945.

“I really don’t think I did that much over there,” he said.

Because he worked on the family farm in Linden, he was initially refused entry into the service, but a doctor provided the necessary documentation and he was sent to Camp Borden in Ontario to train as a gunner operator on tanks. He was later assigned to the armour corps and dispatched to England.

After six weeks of training in Blackdown, he and his comrades were called into battle as reinforcements for the North Novies.

Furlong remembers going to the English Channel coast in the days leading up to the Normandy invasion. No one had any idea where they were going even as they entered the ships to take them across the channel to France.

He crossed on the Prince Henry before going ashore three days after the initial landings.

“From there it was hell,” he said.

Furlong was near Tilley heading for Caen when a German shell landed nearby killing a wounded comrade and leaving him with severe injuries that resulted him heading to hospitals in England and Scotland where he met the woman who would become his wife.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

 

Organizations: North Nova Scotia Highlanders

Geographic location: Normandy, Caen, France Northern France England Linden Camp Borden Ontario Blackdown English Channel Scotland

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  • Steve & Judy Turvey
    June 06, 2014 - 10:21

    Congratulations "Grampy" on this well deserved recognition and medal. We never discussed this before but my Dad trained at Camp Bordon too and was assigned to England before D Day and my mother was a war bride also. Hope to see you again soon. Take care and thanks for all you did for Canada (and King and country at that time!)

  • Steve & Judy Turvey
    June 06, 2014 - 10:15

    Congratulations "Grampy" on this well deserved recognition and medal. We never discussed this before but my Dad trained at Camp Bordon too and was assigned to England before D Day and my mother was a war bride also. Hope to see you again soon. Take care and thanks for all you did for Canada (and King and country at that time!)

  • Wendy Petrus
    June 05, 2014 - 23:20

    Harold and Marge were dear friends of my parents and I'm proud Harold and my father's service to this country.

  • Wendy Petrus
    June 05, 2014 - 23:16

    I've know Harold all my life but I never knew much of this. Harold and Marge were dear friends of my parents and I'm proud to know Harold.

  • Dylan Cuvelier
    June 05, 2014 - 14:08

    I am so proud to come from this family! This is my grandfather and I couldn't be more thankful to be apart of his bloodline and know such an incredible man. Everything he has done was for this country and for his family. Our thoughts go out to everyone who had been there on that beach with him and sacrificed their lives, still living, and not with us, for all that they have done. I love you Grampy!

  • Lynda furlong
    June 05, 2014 - 13:55

    Great story. Thank you. A great honor for an honorable man!!