Floyd Bowman to receive French Legion of Honour medal

Floyd Bowman is pictured holding the prestigious medal at his home in Norview Lodge. It will be formally presented on June 18.

Floyd Bowman is pictured holding the prestigious medal at his home in Norview Lodge. It will be formally presented on June 18.

Floyd Bowman of Port Dover is to be honoured on June 18 and presented the prestigious ‘French National Order of the Legion of Honour’ medal. It relates to his service with the Canadian army in Europe during World War Two.

Floyd had landed on the Normandy beaches in 1944 and then moved on to the city of Caen. It was being heavily shelled by German military.
At that time, the Allied D-Day invasion on those beaches had taken place just weeks earlier. The fighting was intense as German troops put up a solid defensive.
Floyd became a casualty of war when an exploding shell put shrapnel in his right leg, resulting in wounds requiring treatment in an English hospital. Four weeks later Floyd joined his group in the Queen’s Own Cameron Highland Regiment of Canada in the battlefields of Belgium as they continued to advance against German forces.
War is hell with intense fighting and enemy bullets and exploding shells all around the advancing Canadian troops.
Floyd recalled that it was at this stage in the fighting that he was struck for a second time by enemy shrapnel … but he did not know it immediately. Some time later when he removed his army jacket to take out the polished army-issue mirror to shave that he saw the deep dent in it from shrapnel. That mirror had probably saved his life.
The fighting continued as the Canadians’ offensive pushed German forces back. Unfortunately, Floyd suffered another wound from shrapnel, this time in the left leg which sidelined him in an English hospital in Aldershot for the duration of the war. He heard the news of the German surrender on V-E day, June 6, 1945 while in his hospital bed.
After the victory in Europe, Floyd was assigned to guard duty at Muntham, Barns Green, West Sussex. It was there that a “pretty English woman” serving in the British Women’s Army had been assigned as a gardener to the grounds and who Floyd saw every day. They were married in 1946. They both arrived in Canada, but at different times, docking in Halifax, N.S. and reuniting in Hamilton.
They resided in that city, then moved to Halidmand County (Floyd’s birth place) first to Hagersville then Garnet where he worked as a self-employed carpenter. On retirement, the couple moved to Port Dover in 1991.
On moving to Port Dover, Floyd became involved with Hugh Allan Branch, Royal Canadian Legion. He was Sgt-At-Arms from the early 1990s to 2004. As well, he was chairman of the Legion’s Poppy Fund for many years until 2011 when he became Assistant Chair of the Poppy Fund, a position he still holds. Floyd Bowman was presented with a Port Dover Legion Life Membership in 2004.
For the Port Dover Legion’s regular fish dinner every other Thursday a dinner is delivered to Floyd at his Norview Lodge home which is something he looks forward to.
Today Floyd enjoys good health at age 92 and content to live happily as a resident of Norview Lodge in Simcoe. He told me this week, “the staff here is very pleasant and are always respectful of us seniors,” adding “they will do anything for you!”
Joining us at Norview for the interview was Legion President John Smith, who commented “we at Hugh Allan Branch are privileged and proud to have Floyd as a valued member.”
The French National Order of the Legion
of Honour medal

Local dignitaries will be hand to formally present the French National Order of the Legion of Honour medal to Floyd Bowman at a reception on Saturday, June 18 from 1:00 to 3 p.m. It has been confirmed by the French Embassy in Canada that a Colonel at the Embassy will be in attendance for the presentation.
The medal was authorized by the Ambassador of France to Canada Nicolas Chapuis.
He explains “this distinction illustrates the profound gratitude that France would like to express to you. It is awarded in recognition of your personal involvement in the liberation of our country during World War II. Through you, France remembers the sacrifice of all your compatriots who came to liberate French soil.”
The pubic is invited to attend the presentation at Hugh Allan Branch Royal Canadian Legion on June 18 from 1:00 to 3 p.m.

Posted: June 8, 2016

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