I fought in WWII for my country… but now I’m homeless & council have told me to wait 6 MONTHS – my medals feel worthless | The Sun

A 98-year-old WWII veteran has been told to wait six months for a council flat after being evicted from his home.

Alfred Guenigault, a paratrooper at Pegasus Bridge, has been placed into a tiny hostel by Dorset Council while he waits for suitable accommodation.

His family say his treatment does not meet the government's Armed Forces Covenant which states the nation has a moral duty to care for former service personnel.

They fear that with his deteriorating condition, Alfred's final months will be spent in misery in the tiny flat in Verwood, Dorset.

Alfred has prostate and skin cancer and is immobile after breaking his right hip last year.

Daughter Deb Dean, 66, told The Sun: "My concern is that in six months, he may not even be here anymore.


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"He also won't be able to see his grandchildren or any of his church friends who come over to see him or the vicar as well; his life is in Ferndown.

"My father fought in the war and this is the treatment he gets.

"He is so proud of his medals but he has told me they seem worthless because of what he is going through.

"The council say they have a long list of people they need to house but I can't imagine there are too many other 98-year-old war veterans on it.

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"My father is someone our nation owes a huge debt to."

The family are staying in a tired-looking hostel with Alfred in a 12ft by 8ft room and Deb and Bernard in a separate room across the corridor.

Alfred's room consists of a single bed and he has to share kitchen and bathroom facilities with other hostel users.

The decorated hero, who won France’s highest gallantry award the French Legion d’Honneur, lived for seven years in a rented property with his carer daughter Deb Dean and son-in-law Bernard.

They paid £1,300 a month rent for the bungalow but now the cost of renting a similar house in Ferndown is about £2,000, which they cannot afford.

The owners of the house needed to sell up and he was given a two-month eviction notice.

His family told Dorset Council he would be homeless but it told them it could be six to eight months before they can rehouse him.

'Blown to bits'

Alfred was one of the first in Normandy when he landed at Pegasus Bridge at 12.30am on June 6, 1944.

He said he signed up to fight for his country while underage as it seemed "exciting" but his attitude changed after landing behind enemy lines on D-Day.

The first thing he saw was a fellow paratrooper "blown to bits" before he was shot by a German sniper, with the bullet skimming his right cheek.

The veteran said: "The war stopped being exciting then and I just had a job to do.

"The Legion D'Honneur means the most to me.

"There are other people in here (the hostel) and they must feel the same as us.

"The problem is I have lived too long. You would have to be at least 96 years old to have served at D-Day. There are not many of us left."

Deb said her father was of a "stoic" generation but that privately he is hurt that "his medals seem worthless and he is not getting the respect" for his service

'Relegated down the pecking order'

Dorset Council has only been able to find a single room in St Gabriel's Hostel in neighbouring Verwood for her frail father.

Local MP said today it was wrong for Dorset residents like Alfred to be "relegated down the pecking order" for help when millions of pounds is being spent on a giant barge to house 500 asylum seekers in the same county.

Christopher Chope added: "The fact that he is a war veteran makes the case important.

"All veterans are under the Armed Forces Covenant and they are entitled to priority treatment, which is often overlooked by local authorities but it shouldn't be.

"They shouldn't have gotten into a situation where they have moved into a hostel."

Dorset Council said the authority will work with the family to find suitable accommodation in “as short a timescale as possible”.

But they warned that the family “need to be realistic about what is achievable in the current climate”.

A spokesperson said: "Unfortunately being homeless inevitably comes with disruption and upheaval which we seek to mitigate in so far as possible but it may mean that temporarily a household will face some additional challenges inherent in living in temporary accommodation.

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"We have support workers who can provide additional support to the family as we know and appreciate what an anxious time this is.

"The council takes the Military Covenant very seriously and has a former veteran working within the team so really do appreciate the sacrifice our veterans make."

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