A RETIRED police officer who was honoured by the French Government three years ago is to be guest of honour at a special concert next month marking a double centenary.

The concert on Saturday, April 27, marks the centenary of both the Police Federation and the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO).

Current and retired North Wales bobbies from all over England and Wales are expected to attend but the chief VIPs will be ex-sergeant Jack Cox and his wife Sally.

Mr Cox, now 94 and living in Neston, is the oldest surviving member of NARPO’s North Wales branches.

Originally from Richmond-on-Thames in London, he left school at 14 and served in the 1st Commando Brigade during the Second World War.

On D-Day – June 6, 1944 – when he was only 19, he was a lance corporal in charge of the Bren Gun team whose mission after landing at Sword Beach was to fight through hostile enemy country.

Their goal was to reinforce the airborne troops at Pegasus Bridge, six miles away, but difficult terrain including a series of deep flooded ditches made progress difficult.

Despite being under relentless enemy fire they managed to cross the bridge, suffering many casualties in the process, and then managed to protect it against further enemy attacks.

In 2016 Mr Cox was notified that the President of France had appointed him to the rank of Chevalier de la Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur in recognition of his military engagement and steadfast involvement in the liberation of France.

The medal was presented to him by the French Consul, Madame Aude Auclair, in a ceremony at the University of Chester in June, 2016.

Mr Cox, who had harboured an ambition to be a teacher but lacked the qualifications, joined the Flintshire Constabulary in 1952, spending time in Mold and Flint as well as eight years on motor patrol.

He was then promoted to sergeant and was stationed in Wrexham, by which the North Wales forces had become the Gwynedd Constabulary and then the North Wales Police.

He retired from the police after 25 years, his final years being spent in Saltney, and then for eight years he ran a day centre in Shotton which was set up to help tackle the social problems arising from the closure of Shotton Steelworks, when 7,000 jobs were lost.

“It was very successful, with up to 500 people – members of various clubs and groups – attending every week,” he said.

He retired at 60 and has spent much of his leisure time writing his wartime memoirs and visiting art galleries, especially the National Gallery in London.

“I’m no artist myself but I became very interested in art, especially the Renaissance artists,” he said.

During his time in the Force he served for many years as a constables’ and sergeants’ representative on the Federation and he has been a member of NARPO for many years.

“So I am delighted to have been invited to the centenary concert,” he said.

Taking part in the concert at Rhyl’s Pavilion Theatre will be tenor Rhys Meirion, soprano Eleri Woolford, harpist Sian Llewelyn, Cor Meibion Colwyn and Corau Cytgan Clwyd. The compere will be comedian Dilwyn Morgan.

Tickets cost £17, with profits going to the Wales Air Ambulance and Nightingale House, St Kentigern and St David’s hospices.