Dr Ronald Fearn, 92, from Cookridge, was awarded the Légion d’honneur as part of a move by the French government to mark 70 years since D-Day.
The merit has been offered to all British veterans who fought to wrest France from Nazi rule between 1944 and 1945. At the time Dr Fearn served as a sapper in the Royal Engineers and was involved in missions to deceive the enemy before the Normandy Landings.
Following the invasion, he was sent to France to continue subversive operations.
He was sent the medal after applying online through the Ministry of Defence.
He said: “It arrived about a fortnight ago along with a letter from the French ambassador.
“I was told that I could have the medal presented to me at a ceremony at the ambassador’s residence in London but I don’t think I will pursue that.
“I don’t look upon this merit as a personal honour but as a reflection of what the French think of my comrades, many of whom lost their lives.”
Following demobilisation at the end of the war, Dr Fearn remained in service for two years, where he rose to the rank of captain. After leaving the military he became a lecturer at the Leeds Polytechnic School of Architecture and Landscape, where he specialised in acoustics and music.
As a physicist, he has had numerous articles and studies published in science journals and has also written a series of books detailing the complicated practice of restoring old violins.
Since June 2014 more than 4,000 servicemen have received the Légion d’honneur.