Sir John Leslie has been awarded France’s highest military honour.
Less than two months before his 99th birthday, he travelled to the French embassy in Dublin today (Monday) to be bestowed with the medal.
The Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour was presented by the French Minister for Veterans and Remembrance, Jean-Marc Todeschini.
A member of an aristocratic family, which owns the Castle Leslie Estate in County Monaghan, Sir Jack – as he is better known – was born on December 6, 1916, and was a cousin of the former British war-time Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
During the Second World War, he had been an officer in the Irish Guards.
And he spent five years in a German prisoner of war camp when he was captured during a battle to defend Boulogne Sur Mer in France.
He survived and went to live in the United States after World War II before embarking on a journey around Europe and falling in love with Italy, settling in Rome.
In his 70s, he returned to the family estate in County Monaghan.
Sir Jack is renowned for his love of music and the spritely gentleman celebrated his 85th birthday in Ibiza!
Today he toasted the Legion d’Honneur in the presence of family and friends and dignitaries.
Sir Jack’s honour, according to the Jean-Pierre Thebault, the French Ambassador to Ireland, for his “significant contribution in the defence of the freedom of France” during World War Two.
And Sir Jack – who said he was accepting the medal on behalf of all soldiers from the island of Ireland who fought and gave their lives in two world wars – commented: “Well that’s just wonderful. That’s a very high honour. I had no idea.”
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