TRIBUTES have been paid to a “true hero” and D-Day veteran from Abergavenny.

David Edwards, who has died aged 95, leaves a legacy of “peace and reconciliation”, and devoted much time since the war to educating children in Wales and France.

Mr Edwards died at his home, leaving behind wife Diane of more than 70 years, sons Christopher and Michael, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

South Wales Argus:

David Edwards with his war medals. Picture: The Edwards family

Such was his impact that he had a school in Mondrainville, near Caen, in France, named after him for his lectures on peace and understanding.

His link to the village revolves around a family photo he found just after the D-Day landings in 1944.


He pocketed it and carried it with him through the rest of the war, determined to return one day and find the house featured in the picture.

After a 30-year career in the police force, he returned to Mondrainville in 1986 with fellow veteran and friend Tom Griffiths, and a family in the village – the Le Goffes – recognised the house as their own.

Ever since, schoolchildren in Wales and Normandy have maintained close links, and a primary school in Mondrainville was named L’Ecole Edwards-Griffiths in the pair’s honour.

South Wales Argus:

David Edwards during the Second World War. Picture: The Edwards family

Last year Mr Edwards returned to the Normandy school to be presented with the Chevalier Legion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) medal – France’s highest order of merit.

Since 1986 he made many journeys back to Normandy, and formed close ties with the school which bears his name and Llanyrafon Primary School in Torfaen, where he often spent time giving talks and sharing memorabilia.

Son Christopher described him as his “hero” and vowed to continue his work with schools.

Head teacher at Llanyrafon Wayne Jones said: “David was a powerhouse of interest, and we will be forever grateful to him for sharing his wisdom with us.

“Considering his achievements he was one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. I don’t think he ever thought of himself as a hero, but we certainly did.

“It always struck me how highly he was revered in Mondrainville. Perhaps we could learn something there regarding how we treat our veterans.”

Former Abergavenny mayor Martin Hickman met Mr Edwards on several occasions – usually to commemorate those who fought in the First and Second World Wars.

South Wales Argus:

David Edwards after collecting the Chevalier Legion d’Honneur last year

“David always attended the wreath laying ceremonies at Abergavenny Cenotaph,” he said. “I was involved in preparations for a big VE (Victory in Europe) Day celebration, and we had earmarked David to receive the salute in a parade through the town. Unfortunately due to Covid the event was cancelled.

“David was a quiet man, a true gentleman, a veteran and hero. It is a sad loss, not only to his wife Diane and his family, but to Abergavenny. Rest in peace David. We will remember them.”

Speaking after collecting his award last year, Mr Edwards said: “I think the younger generations need to understand what happened and why it happened.

“With the school in Mondrainville, I’m so pleased it’s a main part of their agenda.”

He described war as “an obscene way to solve differences”, adding: “I’ve got German friends. Certainly if we had talked we wouldn’t have gone on killing each other.”