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France Honors Thai Veteran

January 19, 1999

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ France has bestowed the Legion of Honor, its most prestigious decoration, on a 99-year-old Thai veteran of World War I.

The French ambassador to Thailand, Gerard Coste, pinned the medal Monday on the breast of Yod Sangrungruang in Phitsanulok, 210 miles north of Bangkok, the embassy said Tuesday.

Yod is the sole surviving member of the 1,284 Thai soldiers who served in Europe as part of the Royal Thai Expeditionary Force. He worked as an airplane mechanic with the French military.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the end of World War I, France has been conferring the Legion of Honor on all surviving Allied veterans as a means of honoring and thanking those who fought on its soil to defeat the German army.

After the war, Yod resettled in Thailand where he became a top village official.

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