A SECOND World War hero from Warrington died before being able to accept two prestigious awards for his devoted service to the country.

Ernest Morris, who had lived in Croft for 40 years, was to receive the ‘High Sheriff’s Award’ on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen for his ‘services to the community’ as well as the ‘Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur’ recognising his active service to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the battlefields of Normandy in the Second World War.

Sadly Ernest died just a month after celebrating his 100th birthday and so his son Alvin accepted them on his behalf at the service that was held for him.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Alvin, who still lives in Croft, said: “We are grateful to the High Sheriff for her award which dad did know about as it was proposed soon after his 100th birthday. He also knew about the award from the French but that wasn’t 100% confirmed until it actually arrived.

“While it is regretful that dad didn’t get to see the insignia, his family are very appreciative.”

The service, which saw many officials attend including the High Sheriff of Cheshire and several former servicemen, was held at The Birches Crematorium in Lach Dennis, only a short distance from the Knutsford care home where he was a resident.

Standard bearers escorted the hearse bringing Ernest’s casket, covered with the Union Jack flag, to the chapel and were also part of the Last Post ceremony led by Drum Major Richard Stamp from Leicester and Major John Turquand, Deputy chairman of the Fusilier Regimental Association 

Major Turquand delivered a moving tribute to the heroic soldier, detailing a special act of bravery during his service in Holland which saw Ernest carry a ‘live bomb’ out of the local mayor's home where women and children were taking refuge.

Nearing the end of his service in 1944, the veteran endured life changing injuries after a bomb exploded nearby to the trench, where he was taking cover, leaving his left arm permanently damaged and having to have his right leg amputated.

After being officially discharged in 1946, Ernest spent six years in a rehabilitation program in London, far away from his wife and young son back in Warrington.

Ernest’s family described one of his ‘last greatest pleasures’ being celebrating his milestone birthday with all his closest friends and family.

The service for Ernest heard lots of beautiful tributes from family members including Ernests great grandson Oliver, 11, who wrote a poem in honour of him.

Referring to the honourably gesture of the awards presented for his farther, Alvin said: “It will be forever a tangible reminder of our much-loved Patriarch and his bravery, to be treasured and lovingly passed down through the generations, keeping his memory alive.”