On Sunday 21st February 2016 members of the community and Armed Forces personnel joined Tulip Radio as part of a Charity Bingo session at Regent Bingo in Spalding.
Together we raised funds for the Armed Forces, the Royal British Legion, Royal Naval Association, the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, SSAFA and Help for Heroes.
Wonderful prizes were donated including a 32 inch Television for the raffle.
We would like to thank Justin Minkah and staff at Regent Bingo and MD Mark Jepp for allowing this event to take place, the Veterans, families and friends who helped make this a wonderful event.
Photo Presentation Of The Legion D'Honneur
This script was taken from the presentation conducted by Ken Willows
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the association who are here today to support Tom and Gwen and to warmly welcome Donald March and his family who have joined us on this very special occasion.
On behalf of the Regimental Association I would like to welcome the French Honorary Consul for Nottingham, Monsieur Jean Claude La fontaine and thank him for his very kind advice and guidance in helping the Association organise this event.
Before we start the formal presentation I would like to invite John
Hayes to say a few words.
Thank you Mr Hayes.
Before the awards there will be a short presentation of each recipients' record of service.
I would like to start with Tom Fowler.
Thomas Fowler. Presentation of The
Legion D'Honneur 23'd January 20 16
Tom was born on the 15th Feb 1919 in Spalding. After spending his early years at the Parish church school.
After school, Tom became a milkman in Spalding and was a well-known figure on his round.
ln 1939, aged 20, Tom signed on at sobraon Barracks in Lincoln, the home of the Lincolnshire Regiment.
He remained at Lincoln for 5 months before joining B Company and the 4th battalion at Ripon'
The Territorial's of the 4th Battalion were part of 146th Brigade attached to the 4th (West Riding) infantry Division and were sent to Norway in the spring of l940.
By the 17th April, the Battalion had arrived at Namsos and advanced to the head of Trondheim fjord on the 19th. '
B' Company and a section of 'D' company fought the Germans near Visit but had to retreat after the hay-loft of the farm in which they were tending the wounded was captured by the enemy. '
B' and 'D' Companies experienced heavy machine-gun, mortar and light artillery fire, to which no effective reply could be made and a general withdrawal was ordered.
The snow lay two to three feet deep so Bren gun tripods and boxes of reserve ammunition were abandoned as being too heavy to carry.
German aircraft were always in evidence forcing the Battalion to keep under cover.
The nights were bitterly cold, and the Lincolns' stores which had been left behind were destroyed in air raids.
There were no blankets and few greatcoats.
Rations, were plentiful and the men remained in good heart.
However, ill-equipped and without air support, they soon had to be evacuated.
The 4th Battalion moved backed to Namsos for re-embarkation and sailed on the French Auxiliary Cruiser ElKantaro.
Despite German air attacks, they reached Scapa Flow on the 5th May.
Within a few weeks the 4th battalion moved to Iceland and Tom remained with the Battalion during their tour.
ln the summer of 1943 the 4th Lincolns moved to Scotland and started training in combined operations and assault methods ready for the invasion of France.
After much training and intense preparation, Tom, along with the other members of B Company, landed on King sector of Gold Beach on the 10th June.
On the 13th June, the Battalion was ordered to the area of Tilly-sur-Seulles-St Pierre.
The bicycles they had been issued with were soon ditched as the Normandy bocage and enemy opposition made them impractical to use.
The battalion went into action for the first time on the 15th June reconnoitring the village of St Pierre prior to a major attack to capture the woods of Fontenay.
ln this operation, the Lincolns were on the right flank of the whole of 49 Division.
lt was vital that they should take their objective and then hold it at all costs as the Germans were expected to counter attack on the right flank.
The Battalion was issued with rum to steady their nerves.
On the 25th June, just before dawn, there was a devastating crash as the combined guns of 8 Field Regiments, 4 Medium regiments and the guns of the Royal Navy in the Channel opened fire.
'A' Company attacked on the left, 'D' Company on the right, while 'C' Company and a squadron of tanks protected the exposed right flank.
Tom and his pals were in reserve with the rest of 'B' Company.
As A and 'D' Companies advanced, smoke from bursting shells in the valley, through which the companies moved, cut down visibility.
Not only was it difficult to distinguish one group of men from another, the smoke made it almost impossible for commanders to keep control.
A company suffered extensive casualties so the commanding officer ordered B company to pass through A company in extended line.
As they advanced B company mopped up Germans from hedge bottoms and orchards.
They progressed despite the enemy sheiling and opposition.
The Battalion subsequently reached all its objectives although suffering from heavy and accurate enemy sheilfire which was the worst the Battalion was to experience in the whole war.
However, the expected German counter-attack did not materialize thanks to support from 69 Field Regiment
whose guns each fired several hundred rounds that day.
The Battle of Fontenay, cost the 4th Lincolns 14 killed and 64 wounded. 80 enemy dead and 53 prisoners were counted and the material captured included 9 half-tracks, a Mark lv tank, some anti_tank guns and a large pile of small arms.
The Divisional commander, Major General E.H. Barker, commented that 'the Battle of Fontenay was the 4th Lincolns, battle.
unfortunately, one of the G4 wounded in the fighting was Tom.
Because of the nature of his wounds he was hospitalised in France and understandably Tom has little recollection of that time.
whilst Tom was recovering in hospital, his company saw further fighting and stubbornly resisted the Germans when they attacked in July at Tessel Bretteville.
Throughout July and August, the 4th Lincotns fought a series of battles as they moved through Normandy.
They crossed the River seine on the 1st sep which passed off without mishap except one company had to paddle with shovels in the absence of oars.
During this time, whilst the Battalion was moving forward, Tom remained in Normandy Firstly in hospital recovering, but on discharge, he was stationed at Bayeux and undertook prisoner of war guard duties.
Whilst Tom was stationed in Bayeux, the Battalion moved through France seeing action on the Belgian-Dutch border and Holland until the end of the war in May 1945.
Whilst the battalion was carrying out occupation duties including guard duties at the Nuremberg Trials,
Tom was also carrying out guard duties but by this time, back in the UK Also in parallel with the Battalion, Tom was demobbed in 1946, the same year as the 4th Lincolns was disbanded.
Tom returned to Spalding expecting his f5 demob grant which he never received.
He is still waiting - it's now only 70 years!!
Tom has remained in Spalding since returning from France and married in 1946.
He had three sons one of which had a successful career in the Army.
The family military tradition has continued as one of Tom's three sons and two of his grandsons have followed military careers ln 1976 Tom married Gwen and she is still keeping him in line.
ln the old drill hall behind me, you will see the Royal Lincolns Standard carried by Brian Ivatt This was presented to the Association in 1947 on the other side carried by Frank Thompson, is the Normandy Veterans Standard.
Tom was the proud Normandy Veterans standard bearer for nearly half a century only retiring some 10 years ago.
The whole Association and the wider Regimental family wish Tom, his wife Gwen and family, their warmest congratulations on this award and thank the President and people of France in honouring the
To see more photos of this event please click this link
Community Covenant Interviews
On Sunday 22nd March 2015, The Anglia Motel at Fleet Hargate held an Armed Forces afternoon. The event was open to the public who could come along and meet many local veterans. Sunday lunches were served with free tea and cake provided for all armed serves personnel. Tulip Radio was their throughout the day interviewing many of the veterans to hear about their time in the Armed Forces. There's interviews will be collected into a database and preserved for future generations.
On Sunday 9th November, many local people gathered in Ayscoughfee Gardens to pay tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces who gave their lives in conflicts past and present. The service was led by Rev John Bennett, Vicar of St Mary & St Nicolas Church, with local Cadet Forces, Dignitaries and Schools attending the service & singing led by Spalding Parish Church Choir.
Tulip Radio provided the PA system and conducted interviews with Armed Forces veterans. This year was particularly special during to the Centenary of the Outbreak of the First World War and also the scribing of the 24 forgotten names on Ayscoughfee Memorial.
June 6, 2014 saw the 70th anniversary of D-Day commemorated with a special event in Normandy for all the veterans who fought in the
operation itself. Harold Payne, from the Anglia Motel, along with many of the Anglia Motel Veterans, made their final pilgrimage to Normandy to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. Chris & Jan accompanied them on the journey in Chris’s rare 1942 Austin K2 Military Ambulance.
Poignantly, this year is likely the final time that many veterans will have been able to make this unique trip. The Anglia Motel Veterans’ Pilgrimage Fund has raised more than £550,000 in its time and each year has taken veterans to battlefields and cemeteries.