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Newbury Royal British Legion member awarded top honour

Marine veteran receives highest French military award

Newbury Royal British Legion member awarded top honour

NEWBURY Royal British Legion member Norman Fox was awarded the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur after the Remembrance Day service.

Mr Fox, now 92, was awarded the highest French order of merit for military service, for his service during the Second World War.

Mr Fox joined the Royal Marines in February 1942, at the age of 17 and was sent to Eastney Barracks in Portsmouth, where he had ‘nine months of hostility service training’ before being posted to the Mediterranean.

He left Swansea in October 1942, on the Blue Funnel Line SS Phemius, stopping at Brazil to refuel, then on to Mombasa.

He travelled on to Aden, up through the Suez Canal and in 1943 disembarked at the Bitter Lakes, Egypt.

In October 1943 Mr Fox heard that HMS Aurora, a cruiser, needed a new crew and joined as a WRA (warder attendant).

HMS Aurora took part in the invasion of Southern France and bombarded the beaches with its six- and four-inch guns.

In October 1944, Mr Fox went to the Greek island Lavitha, where he went ashore with 29 other Marines and a Naval party.

They captured 100 Germans, who were then taken back to Alexandria. Mr Fox still has a photo of them walking down the gangplank.

Mr Fox spent Christmas 1944 in Salonica, Greece, and, after a stint in Malta, he was put on a troopship back to England.

He went back to Eastney barracks, then, after six weeks’ leave, he went to Browndown Royal Marines small arms school in Gosport.

Mr Fox met his future wife at a dance at the RAF airdrome in Gosport in July 1946.

He was demobbed that year and moved back to Reading, where he married in 1947.

He worked on the buses in Reading and Newbury for 29-and-a-half years and then as a security officer at the Royal Engineers base at Hermitage for 13-and-a-half years before retiring at the age of 65.

See this week's Newbury Weekly News for our seven-page Remembrance supplement. 

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