SECOND world war veteran Keith Reynolds collected his Veteran’s Badge at the Armed Forces Day in Bognor Regis and said: “It’s the first time I have been recognised for my military service.”
Mr Reynolds ended his four years in the Army in the Middle East from 1944 as a corporal.
He served in Egypt and Palestine amid conditions as volatile as the area remains today.
He served in the Reconnaissance Corps of the Royal Armoured Corps and then the Scots Greys.
“I commanded a small armoured car. One of our jobs was to go out and capture the German Prisoners of War who had escaped. We also had to stop the Egyptians getting into our married quarters,” said Mr Reynolds, 86, of The Esplanade.
He and his men also had to keep the peace between the Arabs and the Jews.
He said: “I enjoyed the camaraderie of being in the Army with the fellows who were with me.
“It’s fantastic to get the badge today. It’s a special occasion. I’ve got the War Medal and the Defence Medal but they didn’t dish out many medals then.”
Mr Reynolds was the only serviceman from the second world war to be recognised in the ceremony.
But Eddie Cope, who served from 1958-67 in the Yorkshire and Lancashire Reg, guarded Hitler’s former deputy, Rudolf Hess, in Spandau Prison after the war.
He was also in South Africa when Nelson Mandela gave himself up during the era of apartheid.
The badge is awarded to all those who have served in the Armed Forces. They were presented to:
Theodore Bernard-Aldred, Philip Burns, Frederick Bray, Anthony Cuming, Eric Little, Clive Morge, Keith Reynolds, Ronald Stacey, Julie Sandford, Cliff Mewett, Eddie Cope and Derek Hammond.
Six other recipients were unable to be present at the ceremony: Max Wildman, David Mayne, Gordon Smith, Hugh Hogarth and Alison and Radford Bennett. Arrangements will be made for them to receive their badges.
Two Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals were also presented to Flt Lt Malcolm Penberthy, Officer Commanding 2351 Squadron Air Training Corps in Bognor Regis, and Flt Sgt Ben Rogers, of the corps.
The badges were handed out by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Roger Turner, assisted by the town’s MP, Nick Gibb. He gave out engraved tumblers donated by funeral directors, Edward White and Co.
Mr Gibb has been ever-present at Armed Forces Day in Bognor since it began four years ago.
Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb said: “Today is important. It’s a chance for the community to acknowledge the work and the sacrifice of our armed forces and to say thank you for what they are doing for our country.
“That’s why it was a pleasure to play a part in presenting the badges and medals.”
The day was organised by Bognor Regis Town Council, organisations from the three armed forces and military enthusiasts.