An Enniskillen native, 96-year-old Bill Eames has said it is a huge “honour” to have been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours.

The former RAF Flight Lieutenant and WWII veteran has been honoured for his services to the Royal Air Forces Association and community work within County Fermanagh.

Bill is President of the County Fermanagh Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association and continues to be generous with his time and receives invitations to schools to share his experiences of WWII and a distinguished career in the RAF.

Speaking about being awarded the BEM Bill said: “It is an honour for me to receive this award, as having had direct associations with the Royal Air Force, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, the Aircrew Association, the Royal British Legion and the Royal Air Forces Association continuously since 1941, it helps bring attention to the work of the Royal Airforces Association, especially it’s Fermanagh Branch, and their care for the welfare of ex-RAF personnel in my home County Fermanagh.”

On the morning of June 6, 1944, D-Day, Bill was involved in towing gliders to Ouistreham, Northern France, where the troops on board helped secure Pegasus Bridge, a very important target for the Allied Invasion Forces.

Later in September 1944, he took part in Operation Market Garden and the Allied attempt to secure the Rhine crossing at Arnhem.

The County Fermanagh Branch, Royal Air Forces Association were thrilled that Bill was honoured with Branch Chairman, Ray Hall stating: “We in our Branch are very proud that he is our President and that he continues to guide us, rarely missing any of our Branch monthly meetings and events.

“All of us are absolutely delighted that his contribution over so many years has been recognised’.’

Selwyn Johnston, Chairman of Headhunters Railway Museum also paid tribute to Bill.

“This award is recognition of Bills commitment and dedication in helping to bring history to life for children who are learning about WW2. Most recently Bill returned to his former primary school, Enniskillen Model on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day...to the children Bill is revered as a hero, but in his humble way Bill reminds them he is a survivor and war is not something to glorify.”