Exmouth’s ‘last man standing’ gets medal for service in Norway
- Credit: Archant
An Exmouth war veteran, described as the ‘last man standing’ from his battalion, has been recognised for his service in Norway.
Raymond Savage, 96, was given the commemorative medallion for his time serving with the Leicestershire Regiment in Norway, during World War Two.
He and the rest of the fifth county territorial battalion were separated from their transport after the vessel carrying it was sunk.
Raymond, who served as a second lieutenant before later becoming a captain, was presented with the medal, on behalf of the Norwegian consulate for Plymouth, by captain Bob Allen of the Leicestershire Regiment.
Raymond said he felt like a ‘lucky man’.
“I accept this medal on behalf of the regiment and certainly on behalf of those who didn’t come home,” he added.
In April 1940 a battalion, including Raymond, sailed to Norway after German forces had occupied Denmark and were invading Norway.
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The battalion landed successfully in Andalnes and Molde. However, a third vessel carrying their transport was sunk, leaving them stranded and having to fight off ‘crack’ German troops.
“There was a rather one-sided fight,” said Raymond.
“We did fight back and as a result there is a Leicestershire Regiment cemetery at Lillehammer.
“This cemetery has the graves of 16 members of the regiment who were killed in the fighting.”
The battalion divided into small groups and took to the woods. Some escaped by sea, and some, including Raymond, reached Sweden, where they were temporarily imprisoned before being repatriated to the UK.
On returning to England, Raymond was posted to the first battalion in the Malaya Pennisula, Asia, in 1942, where they fought from the north of Singapore in various ‘notable’ battles, before eventually being forced to surrender to Japanese forces.
He became a prisoner of war until 1945 when he was returned home following the end of the conflict.
Raymond, who now lives at Sheridan House, in Douglas Avenue, frequently gives talks to groups about the Norwegian campaign.