THE family of celebrated Musselburgh war veteran Dr Tom Renouf went on an emotional trip to France at the weekend to see a village square named in his honour.

His widow Kathleen, son George, daughter-in-law Karen and his three grandchildren Max, James and Emma made the trip to Veules les Roses in Normandy for the poignant ceremony, which took place on Saturday.

Mrs Renouf, who lives in Musselburgh, pulled back a Union Flag to unveil a blue plaque at the square in memory of her late husband before a 60-strong crowd of dignitaries and spectators as part of the community’s annual commemoration of the battle.

Speeches were given by George, who later described the moment as “memorable, touching and slightly humble,” and the Mayor Jean-Claude Claire.

This was preceded by a wreath laying ceremony at the village cemetery which is the last resting place of soldiers from the 51st Highlanders. Music was played by a band of 7SCOTS reservists who had travelled from Perth to be present at the event. The party then made its way to the Memorial du Canon where flags were raised in tribute to the fallen.

During the event, the family got the chance to travel in a Second World War jeep called ‘Tom Renouf,’ although Mrs Renouf, 82, opted for a more comfortable ride in transport organised by the Mayor. Champagne and cake was enjoyed at a reception in the Town Hall and, in the evening, a celebratory dinner was held.

Dr Renouf, who died in June 2016 at the age of 91, fought with the 51st Highlanders during the Second World War and helped organise numerous trips overseas for the Highland Division Veterans Association members to commemorate their bravery. He received France’s highest military honour, the Légion d’Honneur, for his part in liberating French communities.

A former pupil of Musselburgh Grammar School, Dr Renouf was called up in September 1943 and posted to the 2nd Battalion London Scottish and latter was transferred to the Tyneside Scottish, which then became part of the 5th Battalion, Black Watch. He landed in Normandy as part of the D-Day landings, took part in the liberation of France, Holland and Belgium, and the Rhine crossing where he was awarded the Military Medal and promoted to lieutenant. He was wounded in France but went back to his regiment.

Commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation were held in Veules and Saint Valery in 2014 which were attended by Dr Renouf, the only 51st Highlanders’ veteran.

In his speech, George said it was a “huge honour” for the family to have a square named after his father, who he said was “here in spirit celebrating this wonderful occasion.”

“The bond of comradeship between the French and Scots goes back centuries to the Auld Alliance and is as strong as it has ever been,” he added.

George pointed out that since 1940 there had been a bond of special friendship between the people of Veules les Roses and the 51st Highlanders who returned as liberators during the D-Day landings in 1944.

He said his father would have been “so proud and honoured” at the gesture, adding: “He would have said the honour was not only for him but to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by laying down their lives defending freedom.”

George, who lives between Perth and Crieff, later told the Courier: “It was a beautiful, sunny day and we thoroughly enjoyed it, although we were a bit exhausted at the end.”

Event organiser and councillor Jean Louis Angelini said: “In a very short period of time, Tom was able to conquer all hearts and spirits in Veules.

“The square which will be named after him is an old one, in a very charming location, overseeing the river.”

He added: “We came to know Tom thanks to Raphael Distante who is a city councillor in Saint Valery en Caux and a long time active supporter of the Franco-Scottish friendship.”

Previously, Irene Tait, chairwoman of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, told the Courier it was a “lovely gesture” and “well deserved.”