Lynn Sheffield Simmons / The Place is Argyle

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Brad Loper/The Dallas Morning News
Students from the Dallas International School join French Consul General Sujiro Seam and the seven WWII Vets who received the French Legion of Honor medal at a ceremony at Dallas City Hall in Dallas on Tuesday. The veterans seated from left are Charles Atchley, Jack Beddingfield, Herbert Durham, Gerald French, Aaron Gitelman, Eugene Hodges and David Stear.

WWII veteran from Argyle receives French honor

Jack Beddingfield, an Argyle Senior Center member, along with six other United States World War II veterans recently received the French Legion of Honor. The medal of Chevalier French Order of the Legion of Honor was presented to the recipients by the consul general de France, Suijiro Seam, at Dallas City Hall.

Beddingfield was born in a farmhouse in Anderson County on Jan. 26, 1925, and graduated from Covington High School in May 1943. In November, the 18-year-old was drafted into the United States Army, and World War II was in full swing. After his three-month basic training in Florida, he was sent to Europe. He was assigned to the 117th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company F, 30th Infantry Division light machine gun section.

His division was on its way to Normandy, France, when it landed on Omaha Beach a few days after D-Day, a term used for the day when more than 160,000 allied troops — 73,000 Americans, 61,715 British and 21,400 Canadians — actually landed on the Normandy beaches. Beddingfield’s division marched to Normandy, and after a successful D-Day by the allied forces, it was assumed the war would soon be over, but German forces launched battles known as the Battle of the Bulge that were intended to cut through the allies.

Beddingfield was sent to the German-French border, and by the first of January in 1945 the allied forces were driving the Germans back. On Jan. 16, his mother’s birthday, Beddingfield was moving with his unit when a nearby German tank was shooting bullets in a different direction from Beddingfield’s unit, but a bullet ricocheted off the ice hitting him in the back. Beddingfield was taken to a hospital in England, where he had surgery and stayed in the hospital until his release on May 8, 1945, the same day the war ended.

In a letter to Beddingfield from Francois Delattre, the ambassador of France, it states:

“I am pleased to inform you that by decree of President [Francois] Hollande on June 10, 2013, you have been appointed a “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor.

“This award testifies to President Hollande’s high esteem for your merits and accomplishments. In particular, it is a sign of France’s infinite gratitude and appreciation for your personal and precious contribution to the United States’ decisive role in the liberation of our country during World War II.

“The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France by persons of exceptional merit. The French people will never forget your courage and your devotion to the great cause of freedom.”

The ceremony was hosted by Beth Huddleston, chief of protocol for the city of Dallas and those attending besides family and friends were Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlngs, students and teachers from the Dallas International School, a representative from Veterans Affairs and Honorary Consul of France Robert Lavie who accompanied the consul general of France.

Beddingfield and his wife, Cleo, are active members at the Argyle Senior Center and members of the First Baptist Church Argyle.

Work on Old Justin Road set

Residents on Old Justin Road in Argyle were notified that Denton County commissioners approved an interlocal cooperative agreement between the town of Argyle and the county to partner in work on the reconstruction of the road.

The project will involve tree trimming, locating utility lines and reconstruction.

The tree trimming began last week and after the utility lines are located, work crews will work in sections beginning at Interstate 35W and work their way to U.S. Highway 377.

The project will involve recycling the old base, adding a new base, priming and laying new asphalt.

“Old Justin Road will be open to two-way traffic with flagmen,” Denton County Commissioner Andy Eads said, “but as a safety precaution, we kindly request that people use a detour route of Crawford Road as much as possible and reserve use of Old Justin Road for local traffic.”

The project is paid for with funds from the Denton County 2008 bond election.

Upcoming events

The Argyle Lions Club will play host to Retro Bill at its meeting at noon Tuesday in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St. The public is invited to come and bring a sack lunch.

Later in the day, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., the Argyle Lions Club and the Argyle Crime Control and Prevention District will sponsor a spaghetti dinner at Hilltop Elementary School.

The price is $5 per person or $15 per family. The public is invited. Retro Bill will serve as the entertainment.

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of nine children’s books and two history books on Argyle. She can be reached at lynnsheffieldsimmons@gmail.com or 940-464-3368.


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