Brave Douglas recognised for service to France in war

Douglas Joss PNL-151117-112823001

Douglas Joss PNL-151117-112823001

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A retired squadron leader who flew in Lancaster bombers during the Second World War has been honoured by France.

Douglas Joss, 94, who clocked up 32 years’ service was appointed by president François Hollande to be a Chavalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur, in recognition of his service.

He received a letter from the French ambassador to tell him of the honour.

It read: “We must never forget the heroes like you who came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France.”

This is the second medal that has been awarded to Mr Joss; he previously received La Croix du Combattant de l’Europe in 1981. In the UK he holds an MBE from the Queen, received in 1957.

Mr Joss’ service took him to West Africa, Aden, India, Burma, Singapore and Germany and he was seconded to the French Foreign Legion in Fort Lamy, French Equatorial Africa.

During the Second World War he served as a rear gunner flying in Lancaster Bombers with 12 and 626 Squadrons. He completed a tour of 32 operations in the dangerous role.

For the last four years of his service Mr Joss was posted to RAF Halton, and after his retirement settled in Wendover.

As a civilian he worked as a secretary to the mayors of Aylesbury Borough, and to the chairmen of Aylesbury Vale District Council. He also served as a magistrate for 14 years and was vice-president of the Aylesbury bench.

Mr Joss also volunteered as the president of the Wendover and District Scout Association, as a marriage guidance counsellor and was a SSAFA case workers for 26 years.