On 12 Feb 2018 we had the honour of representing the KOYLI at the presentation of the Legion d'Honneur at Sheffield Town Hall to Cyril Calton aged 93, a former member of 1/4th KOYLI and a Sheffield hero. Association Standard Bearers paraded the Sheffield, Doncaster and Pontefract KOYLI Standards providing a fitting backdrop for the presentation in Sheffield Town Hall.
The Regimental family was fully represented at the award of the Legion d'honneur to Cyril. The Rifles Colonel South Yorkshire and Chairman of the Association Trustees Lt Col Graham Whitmore along with the Vice Chairman Maj (Retd) Derek Searby CBE. were present along with Sheffield Branch Secretary George Hodgson with Sheffield branch members.
We wish to thank Cyril and his family for the warm welcome they gave to the Association representatives and the Standard Bearers. We also thank the Lord Mayor of Sheffield and her staff for their warm welcome and hosting the event. Cede Nullis.
Mr Calton was a member of the 1/4th battalion of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) during the Second World War and he along with his comrades took part in the Normandy Landings at the age of 19. They landed on Gold Beach and took part in the battles at Fonenay-Le-Pesnil, Cristot and Tessel Wood where he was wounded twice.
After being wounded he was shipped back to a hospital in Liverpool for his wounds to be treated and when his parents found out they travelled from their home in Sheffield to Liverpool to visit him only to find out on arrival that after 3 weeks of treatment he had been shipped back to join his unit in France. From there he was part of the allied force to capture Caen and the port of Le Harvre. He then stayed with his unit throughout the conflict and ended up in Germany at the end of the war.
During all this time he was engaged to his childhood sweetheart Joyce, who was doing her bit working at the Firth Brown Steelworks in Sheffield, and said he would wait until after the war to marry her because he didn’t want her to become a widow at such a young age.
When the war was over he made good his promise and they finally married while he was still in uniform at All Saints Church Sheffield in 1945. After leaving the army, and a short spell as a long distance lorry driver, he became a bus driver in Sheffield, a job he did for 16 years. He then became the school caretaker at Firs Hill School in Pitsmoor and later at Shooters Grove Infant School in Stannington where he retired in 1988 after 20 years service. The headmaster and staff celebrated his retirement after a total of 36 years service with the Sheffield City Council with a party and presentation to him and his wife Joyce, who also served 29 years service with the Education Dept.
After his well-earned retirement the Sheffield City Council at a meeting of the Education Programme Committee recognised his 36 years’ service and presented him with a certificate signed by the Lord Mayor. During his time as the caretaker at Firs Hill School he was also commended by the Sheffield Education Dept. and fire Brigade, for his part in saving the school from burning down by single handedly tackling a fire set by an arsonist while waiting for the Fire Brigade to arrive.
Mr Calton was married to Joyce for 71 years who sadly passed away last year after he nursed her as her carer for many years. After the loss of his childhood sweetheart and wife he went to back to the beaches in Normandy in France for the first time with the Royal British Legion to pay his respects to his fallen comrades from so many years ago, and he was informed he was to be presented with the Legion d’Honneur medal, one of France’s highest awards for bravery, in recognition of his part in liberating their country.