Sunday 18 August 2019

British businessman gets bravery award for preventing French train attack

British ambassador to France Lord Llewellyn presents the award to Chris Norman (AP)
British ambassador to France Lord Llewellyn presents the award to Chris Norman (AP)

A British businessman who helped thwart an Islamic extremist's attack on a French high-speed train has been presented with a royal honour for his bravery.

The British ambassador to France, Lord Llewellyn, bestowed the Queen's Commendation for Bravery on Chris Norman on Thursday.

In August 2015, Mr Norman and three Americans overpowered an Islamic extremist with an assault rifle who tried to open fire on a Thalys train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris.

Clint Eastwood is making a movie about the attack, called The 15:17 To Paris. The attacker is suspected of links to an Islamic State group cell that killed 130 people in Paris three months later.

Mr Norman, the three Americans, a French-American man and another Frenchman were given France's Legion of Honour for their efforts.

On receiving the award, Mr Norman said, "I hope that I will be able to live up to the standards of behaviour that the award should bring with it."

"You're typically modest about it," the ambassador said.

Mr Norman said he had been working on his computer on the train when he heard a shot and glass breaking and saw a train worker running. Later he described his actions as less of a question of heroism than survival.

"I said to myself, 'You're not going to die sitting there doing nothing,'" he told AP in 2015.

"I don't think we can rely entirely on the police, the law enforcement services. They will do their best. We can put in place the best intelligence networks, but somebody is probably going to get through at some stage. And my vision of this is that as citizens, we need to be prepared to think about how to act."


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