Leeds community set to show love for ‘humble’ D-Day war hero 70 years after conflict

William Bill Cutler after receiving the L�gion dHonneur at the Yorkshire Air Museum earlier this month.
William Bill Cutler after receiving the L�gion dHonneur at the Yorkshire Air Museum earlier this month.
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A humble gentleman with an extraordinary D-Day story is being celebrated by his community more than 70 years after serving in the Second World War.

Neighbours and friends of William Cutler, from Cottingley, are organising a special event for him weeks after he was recognised by the French government as one of the brave men who fought the Nazis in Normandy on June 6 1944.

The 12 British war veterans of the D-Day Normandy Landings of June 6 1944 who were awarded the L�gion dHonneur at Yorkshire Air Museum, York. Picture by James Hardisty.

The 12 British war veterans of the D-Day Normandy Landings of June 6 1944 who were awarded the L�gion dHonneur at Yorkshire Air Museum, York. Picture by James Hardisty.

William, known locally as Bill, served as an able seaman with the Royal Navy during the D-Day landings – the largest naval, air and land operation in history – and was one of 12 survivors given France’s highest honour, the Légion d’Honneur, by the French Defence Attaché to the UK Contre Amiral Patrick Chevallereau at The Allied Air Forces Memorial and Yorkshire Air Museum at York.

The 96-year-old war veteran, who is thought to have been one of the first residents on the Cottingley Hall estate, will be celebrated at a 1940s-themed tea party at Cottingley Community Health Centre on April 9 from 12.30pm.

Christine Robinson-Perkins, community development manager at the centre, explained that residents are keen to show their appreciation for Bill.

“I just think there are people that do amazing things and live a normal life and they don’t want for much. He’s such a humble man, he would never brag about it,” she said.

“To have him on our estate, which is not often a notable area for something that’s good, we have this war hero living down the road from us and I think it’s pretty amazing.”

The Friends of Cottingley Hall volunteer group has organised the event, which will feature excerpts from Bill’s war diaries, music and dress from the period as well as fundraising raffles and collections.

At the request of Bill, all funds raised will be donated to St Gemma’s Hospice.

Visit facebook.com/events/816802888448707 for further information.

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