A regular column from Tulip Radio’s Jan Whitbourn.
Congratulations to local veteran Tom Fowler (97) who recently received the Norwegian Government’s Commemorative Medal in recognition of his part in helping restore their freedom during the Second World War.
The award was presented to him by the Consul to the Royal Norwegian Embassy Attache, from London, Andy Surfleet. Tom was one of the brave 4th Lincolns involved in the first land fight of the war between British and German troops at Norway’s remote Krog’s Farm in April 1940. Surgeon Me Leif Kibsgaard from Norway, who instigated the award, came to witness the presentation, and Mr Paul Kiddel, a friend of Tom’s, came especially to the ceremony from Norway. There were over 50 people at the Woodlands Hotel, Spalding, to celebrate with Tom and his family.
The ceremony was hosted by the Royal Anglian Regiment Association and the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, Spalding Branch, and the County Colonel from Lincolnshire, Colonel G Newmarch, also attended the event.
Tom had a remarkable time in the Armed Forces, signing up at the age of 20 for the Soberton Barracks, Lincoln in 1939, the home of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment. In spring 1940, after training, Tom was sent over to Norway where he fought in the area of Trondheim until a later evacuation. Tom returned to the UK after spending time in Iceland where the regiment trained for Operation Overload, the invasion of France by Allied Forces in June 1944. They landed on D-Day, with Tom having known nothing of the planned invasion before being entered into battle and being sent to Fontenay Woods, near the village of Tilly-sur-Seulles in Normandy. Tom was wounded but carried on alongside many allied troops who liberated Normandy.
In January this year, Tom was presented with France’s highest award, the Legion d’honneur from Jean-Claude Lafontaine, Honorary French Consul for the East Midlands, for his efforts in liberating France. The French Ambassador to the UK told Tom that heroes like him came from Britain and the Commonwealth to begin the liberation of Europe by liberating France.
Visit Tulip Radio’s website, www.tulip-radio.co.uk, picture gallery, www.tulip-radio.co.uk, to view pictures from this event.