The Canadian Military Engineers are pleased to advise that the Government of France has presented the National Order of the Legion of Honour to Major Lloyd Kenyon MiD, a WW II Royal Canadian Engineer veteran and a participant in the Battle of the Liberation of France.
The following article from the Fort York News Summer 2015 edition summarizes the background and the presentation.
A GREAT DAY” FOR MAJOR LLOYD KENYON FRENCH LEGION OF HONOUR RECIPIENT
By Capt. Larry D. Rose
Major Kenyon’s wife, Winnie and his three children were delighted spectators at the presentation along with 20 members of his extended family. As many as ten members of Branch 165 were also on hand to congratulate their fellow branch member. They included Malcolm Hamilton who initiated the award application on behalf of Major Kenyon. Mr. Hamilton called the ceremony, “a great day for a great veteran.”
Major Kenyon grew up in Montreal and enrolled at the Royal Military College in Kingston in 1938 just after his 17th birthday. He was a noted athlete, playing rugby and hockey. He transferred to the engineering program at McGill University when RMC closed for the war but then joined the Canadian Army in May, 1941. Lieutenant Kenyon spent a period in Canada both as a trainee and then as an instructor before being sent to England. He was assigned to the 16th Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers, part of the Third Canadian Infantry Division, then preparing for the invasion of France.
On D-Day, the 16thField Engineers were among the first troops to land in Normandy. The tide was higher than expected when the sappers touched down making it difficult to complete one of their primary tasks, clearing beach obstacles. In following days their extremely hazardous work included defusing or blowing up booby traps which the Germans employed relentlessly. Following D-Day, Lieutenant Kenyon participated in many battles including those at Caen, Carpiquet, Falaise and Trun. At Trun the 16thField Company was part of the “cork in the bottle” that trapped thousands of German troops trying to escape from the Falaise area. Following the liberation of France, newly promoted Captain Kenyon continued as a front line combat engineer through Belgium and Holland. Just after the end of the war he was promoted to major and ap- pointed Officer Commanding, 9th Field Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers, which was employed clearing demolished bridges from canals in Holland.
He was awarded a Mention in Dispatches in October, 1945.
After leaving the army he returned to McGill University to complete his Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1948. Major Kenyon then began a career in construction that lasted more than forty years. His pro- jects included university, insurance and government buildings, and even the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Veterans Wing where he now lives. He also was president of the Toronto Construction Association in 1970, an organization that serves 1,500 member companies in Metropolitan Toronto. In addition, he has been a member of Branch 165 for many years.
The French government has chosen to honour three hundred former soldiers from Canada, along with similar numbers from the United Kingdom and the United States who participated in the liberation of France. The medal was award in recognition of Major Kenyon’s “professional involvement in the liberation.” It is meant to honour not only the recipient but the sacrifice of thousands of Canadians who were part of the liberation.
The Kenyon family expressed their gratitude to Malcolm Hamilton for “patiently pursuing the application process” with the French government, a process which finally led to the award presentation.