A 94-YEAR-OLD war veteran is having a year to remember.

Not only has he celebrated 65 years of marriage, the D-Day veteran was also presented with the Legion d’Honneur from the French honorary consul.

Len Couzens and Pat Johnson, of Kings Park, Bolton, Bradford, were married at St Clare’s Catholic Church in Fagley.

The couple met while working together at the telephone exchange in Manchester Road. The men worked nights and the women days and they met when she took over from him one day.

The couple celebrated their blue sapphire anniversary with a party on Sunday attended by family from across the country. They put their long life together down to being tolerant and having a sense of humour.

Pat added: "The years have flown by. You have got to live your own life ad have your own personal interests. Don't depend on each other."

Len joined up in 1942 at the age of 18. He wanted to be a fighter pilot but was rejected because of a lazy eye and instead served with the Royal Navy on motor gunboats which were dubbed 'the Spitfires of the sea' which he thought sounded good.

His first major action of the Second World War was escorting landing craft to Sword beach on D-Day in 1944.

"Lots of the soldiers had never been to sea and were sea-sick," remembered Len who came under fire but luckily was not wounded.

He recalled the British battleships firing their guns and rockets towards the defending positions: "The noise was terrific, it was deafening."

Once the first wave of troops had secured the beach, the situation calmed down and the rest of the day saw him and his crew escorting more landing craft in.

Later in the war he had to patrol for German E-boats and two-man midget submarines before leaving the service in 1946.

Because of his service on D-Day he applied for the Legion d’Honneur from the French government and finally received France’s top medal from honorary consul Robert Mille in June at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Zafar Ali, celebrated the honour by recently inviting him for afternoon tea at City Hall.

Len was a postal officer at Royal Mail in Bradford for 40 years, a member of Bradford Salem and of Bradford Civic Playhouse while Pat, 85, was the press and publicity officer for Bradford College.

They are both still very active. Len goes to Kents gym three times a week - "it's good to keep the joints moving" - and Pat is the secretary and an active member of St Clare’s Community Centre in Fagley.

They had four sons and have seven grandchildren.