Bob Govan receives France’s Highest Honour

The Quill Lake Legion holds a Christmas party every year, but this one was different. Local president Lane Grey had a big surprise in  mind.

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Comrade Robert Govan of Quill Lake receives the French National Order of the Legion of Honour from Legion branch president Lane Gray.

Veteran Bob Govan was up for an honour, and that night (Jan. 9) he received it: he became a Knight in France’s National Order of the Legion of Honour, or l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, to be honoured requires 20 years of peacetime civil achievement or an “extraordinary” act of bravery or service in times of war. To be admitted to the Legion for war service means the honouree automatically receives the Crois de Guerre, the highest French military medal.

The order was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and there are five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

In 2014 the French Republic, along with Canada’s Veterans Affairs, identified more than 1000 surviving Canadian veterans on the 70th anniversary of the Battle for the Liberation of France. Nominations to receive the medal reopened in 2015.

The award is considered the French equivalent of the Order of Canada. Govan apparently keeps good company, as the list of honourees includes Canadian Second World War flying ace William Avery “Billy” Bishop VC.

Asked how he feels about the honour, Govan replied that “It’s nice to be remembered.”

The Wadena News community is honoured to have you in our midst. Congratulations, Bob!

By Alison Squires

Wadena News

306.338.2133.

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