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By Debbie le Quesne

Inspirational Fred finally gets his medals

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Every now and then there’s a care sector story that really tugs at the heartstrings. Often these tales are tucked away and don’t really get the media exposure they deserve.

On the British Army website there’s a tale of a Second World War D-Day veteran who has come face-to-face with his medals for the very first time – almost 70 years after the conflict ended. Love it, love it love it!

Fred, originally from South East England, first volunteered for the Armed Guard two weeks before his 18th Birthday before going on to drive ‘Duck’ vehicles – six-wheel drive amphibious DUKW trucks – all over Europe and North Africa for the Royal Army Service Corps.

He still has vivid me memories of driving a Duck to the shores of Normandy four days after D-Day to take supplies, including food and ammunition, to the soldiers.

Commenting on why he had never claimed his heroic mementoes, Fred said: “When I came back from the war I just got back to my ‘civvy’ life – it was always something I just put off doing, but I’m so happy I have them now.

After a presentation by led by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Busby, Commanding Officer 156 (North West) Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, a humble Fred said: 
“Today’s been a fantastic day. I’m going to polish my medals and want to hold on to them for a little while yet.”

Fred’s son, Rick Mullis, who set the wheels in motion for claiming the medals, added: “Dad has always talked about his memories and friends from his time in the war and can still tell you his service number.

“One day he pointed out a picture of himself with three of his army friends, all of whom were wearing their medals, except for Dad, and that’s how this all came about.”

The celebrations were held at Astbury Lodge, Ellesmere Port, where Fred is a resident.

He was joined by family and fellow residents at CLS-run residential home for the celebrations.

Lt Col Busby said it was an honour to present a true hero with his medals: “To present Fred with his much-deserved medals was a unique experience for me and one I will remember for a long time to come.”

Fred, added: “To be honest, I don’t really feel like I earned my medals – I just did my service and duties like everybody else – even so, it’s so good to have them after all this time!”

On reading this piece I feel humbled to have worked for so many years honouring what I believe is our nation’s greatest treasure – the elderly.

Fred epitomises so many of them. How can we sell such great people short on care? I feel inspired to continue to improve the dignified care Fred and his fellow seniors are so worth of receiving.

Fred Mullis I salute you!

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