Dutch medal for 101-year-old British Army veteran

Lieutenant Colonel John Humphreys CROWN COPYRIGHT

At the age of 101, a British Army World War Two veteran has been awarded a new honour from the Dutch for notable service that saw him escaping two prisoner of war camps.

Lt Col John Humphreys OBE DL, who is a Chelsea Pensioner, received the Thank You Liberators Medal from Lieutenant Colonel Richard Piso, Military Attaché from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The event took place during a private reception held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in recognition of his distinguished military service, and particularly in respect of his service to the Netherlands. Lt Col Humphreys served with the Royal Engineers and the Parachute Regiment between 1936-77 and escaped from two prisoner of war camps.

While serving in the Western Desert, he sustained a head injury during a bombing raid in Tobruk, Libya. “When I woke up, I was surrounded by Germans who looked down on me and said: ‘For you Tommy, the war is over.’ I can still see them now if I close my eyes, two big fellas, looking down on me,” he said. After receiving treatment for his injuries, he was transferred to a prisoner of war camp in northeast Italy, which he described as a “soul destroying experience”.

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