A MAN who served throughout the entirety of the Second World War is set to receive a medal later this month, as recognition of his contribution to the war effort in France in 1944.

Joseph ‘Jim’ Ball, 97, of Raisdale Road, Penarth, will be awarded the Légion d’Honneur – the highest decoration awarded in France – at a ceremony later this month hosted by the French consul.

On discovering his eligibility to receive the award, Mr Ball said: “The French President made a statement to the effect that all veterans had made a contribution to the war effort.

“Providing you’re a veteran and were involved in France, then you would be automatically entitled.

“We thought we’d try and make something of it and ask the consul to come down and present it,” he said.

Aged 19, Mr Ball joined the army two weeks after war broke out in 1939 and remained in the armed forces until 1946, having served in West Africa, Sicily, Italy and later France and Germany.

As staff sergeant, Mr Ball was predominantly responsible for providing front-line troops with ammunition, cigarettes and food, catering for as many as 4,000 troops every day.

Having returned to England in February 1944, Mr Ball and his then fiancée, Joyce, had scheduled their wedding to take place while he was on leave.

But having raised the matter with his commanding officer, the pair were soon forced to change their plans.

“The officer called me in and said: ‘I see you’re due to take some leave,’

“’That’s right’ I said, ‘in June I’m getting married.’

“He said you might not be here in June. That was very, very secret information at the time. He said you’d better bring it forward if you can.”

Mr and Mrs Ball were married on May 6, with Mr Ball departing for France a month later.

The presentation takes place at Methodist Homes for the Aged, Penarth, on October 20.