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  • Today in the small Normandy village of Rots
  • Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    They rang the church bells as we in Brighton laid to rest our friend and neighbor

    Stephen Edgar Barnwell

    46 Royal Marine Commando

    Chevalier de la Legiond’honneur

    15th July 1922 – 28th December 2019

    He was a wonderful man and it was great privilege to have known him. He very rarely mentioned anything about the war but lived everyday like a man who wanted to live not just for himself but for all those who didn’t come back. And a a very moving gesture from the people of Rots who have never forgotten the 22 young men of 46 Commando  who gave their lives to liberate their village

    R.I.P Steve, I and no one who knew you will ever forget you.

    Premier Icon tpbiker
    Free Member

    A fine tribute to one of many very brave men. Rip Steve.

    Premier Icon oldmanmtb2
    Free Member

    It is a true privilege to know people like him.

    Premier Icon senorj
    Full Member

    Bravo

    Premier Icon jamj1974
    Full Member

    What a moving gesture remembering him and his fallen comrades.

    Premier Icon CountZero
    Full Member

    A life well lived, and a life that will be remembered.
    R.I.P.

    Premier Icon mikeyp
    Full Member

    I’m very grateful to know I’ll never have to see or do anything like you friend Steve and his mates had to do.

    Premier Icon avdave2
    Free Member

    The portrait along with many others can be seen at 3945portraits.com it’s a project by a photographer called Glyn Dewis whose set out to photograph as many of the remaining veterans as he can. Steve was a little reluctant at first to take part but he was very pleased with the result. Although he was very modest man who gave little away about his war service he was very proud of his  Legiond’honneur and he was also very proud when on a trip back to Rots in 2015 he was presented with the freedom of the village. Late last year he was also delighted to receive the Dutch liberation medal in recognition of 46 Commando’s role there.

    Steve was wounded twice, the first time on patrol shot in the foot by a German sniper and then burnt with phosphorus when his commanding officer threw a smoke grenade a little too close to him as they tried to get him back behind the lines. He wasn’t very impressed with either the sniper only shooting him in the foot, Steve had an engraved silver spoon at home awarded for the highest average score of any member of his Commando unit at the Royal Marine sniper school, nor his commanding officers aim with a smoke grenade.

    He returned to service when the unit was sent to defend Antwerp against an expected German attack during the Ardennes offence. As a member of X Troop he was one of the first British Commandos to cross the Rhine but his war ended there when he was hit by shell fire.

    All of this we have heard from others who served with him. My mum and dad saw Steve every single day, usually 2 or 3 times for the last 7 years of his life after he lost his wife and in that time he never once spoke to them or me about what he’d done during the war, just used to refer to it as the silly times. He spent the last few years of his life dealing with severe pain in his legs, a combination of his wounds and a love of motorbikes had finally caught up with him. Despite that though he was always positive, always with plans that his body would no longer let him fulfill and he was never less than wonderful company. He was a brave young man for sure but what I saw was an incredible courage in a very old man which will live with me forever.

    I truly was lucky to have known him.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Thank you Stephen.

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Full Member

    Good man – great tribute. RIP.

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