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Harold Bergeron, 99, of Essex Junction, poses in his home Monday after receiving the French Legion of Honor the highest military honor from the French government on Nov. 17 during a ceremony in Montpelier. OLIVER PARINI PHOTOGRAPHY
Harold Bergeron, 99, of Essex Junction, poses in his home Monday after receiving the French Legion of Honor the highest military honor from the French government on Nov. 17 during a ceremony in Montpelier.
OLIVER PARINI PHOTOGRAPHY

A pleasant surprise

Harold Bergeron, 99, and Leonard (Len) Pilus, 92, both of Essex Junction, were given the French Legion of Honor the highest military honor from the French government on Nov. 17 during a ceremony in Montpelier.

HAROLD BERGERON

The award came as a surprise to Bergeron who claimed that during the war he had only done what he was ordered to do.

“I didn’t do anything special, I just did my job. This was a complete surprise for me.”

Bergeron worked as a Company Clerk in the 66th Infantry Division with the rank of Corporal.

“The Company Clerk we had couldn’t type and I could type. So I had to do all the typing,” Bergeron said.

After joining the military Bergeron spent one month in England with his unit until they were moved to France aboard the Belgian vessel SS Léopoldville. The move to France was to aid in the Battle of the Bulge.

During World War II the Germans were notorious for dispersing their U-Boats around Europe and especially in the English Channel. On Dec. 24, 1944 a German torpedo for the U-486 struck the ship and within three hours the SS Léopoldville sank and around 800 men were killed. The ship was about five miles from the shores of Cherbourg, France…READ MORE

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