Today in the small Normandy village of Rots
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.Posted 1 year ago
A fine tribute to one of many very brave men. Rip Steve.Posted 1 year ago
It is a true privilege to know people like him.Posted 1 year ago
BravoPosted 1 year ago
What a moving gesture remembering him and his fallen comrades.Posted 1 year ago
A life well lived, and a life that will be remembered.Posted 1 year ago
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.Posted 1 year ago
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.Posted 1 year ago
Thank you Stephen.Posted 1 year ago
Good man – great tribute. RIP.Posted 1 year ago
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.