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World America's 'Berlin Candy Bomber' honoured by UK

23:00  10 november  2019
23:00  10 november  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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In June 1948, Soviet troops closed all rail, road and river access to the city of Berlin in an effort to choke it off. The move prompted the United States

Colonel Gail Seymour "Hal" Halvorsen (born October 10, 1920) is a retired officer and command pilot in the United States Air Force. He is best known as the " Berlin Candy Bomber " or "Uncle Wiggly

A US pilot known as the "Berlin Candy Bomber", who dropped sweets from the air to children in West Berlin during a Soviet blockade after World War Two, has been honoured in London.

Gail Halvorsen wearing a military uniform: Gail Halvorsen is known as the Berlin Candy Bomber© Getty Gail Halvorsen is known as the Berlin Candy Bomber

The 99-year-old former serviceman received a standing ovation at the annual Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

a person wearing a costume: The country remembers those who died in conflict on Remembrance Sunday© Getty The country remembers those who died in conflict on Remembrance Sunday

With him on stage was Vera Mitschirch, one of the youngsters who had received the treats, which were tied to miniature parachutes made from handkerchiefs.

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A US pilot known as the " Berlin Candy Bomber ", who dropped sweets from the air to children in West Berlin during a Soviet blockade after World War Two, has been honoured in London. The 99-year-old former serviceman received a standing ovation at the annual Royal British Legion Festival of.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Ron Freer, 104, said he is 'hugely honoured' to be marching in tribute to those who fell© PA Ron Freer, 104, said he is 'hugely honoured' to be marching in tribute to those who fell

During the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and 1949, the Allies got around the blockade by flying in food and fuel every day for more than two million Germans.

It comes as the prime minister and the Royal Family led tributes to those who died in conflict as the country paid its respects on Remembrance Sunday.

The leaders of three main political parties took a break from the election campaign trail at the Cenotaph.

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And his name was Gail Halvorsen, the famed “ Berlin Candy Bomber ” who dropped boxes of chocolate and gum from his plane using tiny handkerchief parachutes Berlin was split further and divided into zones between the four of them. Along the way, the Soviets disagreed with the ideologies, the future

Speaking before events began, Boris Johnson said he would be "proud" to lay his first wreath at the war memorial as prime minister, and vowed to continue to "champion those who serve today with such bravery in our military".

He said: "On Remembrance Sunday this year I will be thinking of the men and women who, over the centuries, have given so much to protect our country.

"I will especially remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in war, so that today we can live in peace."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "We remember the many brave people from Britain and all across the world who put their lives on the line, making huge sacrifices in two world wars which cost the lives of millions, and in all the other conflicts since."

a person posing for the camera: Ron Freer was captured during the Second World War© PA Ron Freer was captured during the Second World War

He added: "For so many of our armed forces, our veterans and their families who have given and still give so much to us, they are not getting the support they deserve."

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And Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who is attending the service for the first time as Lib Dem leader, said: "Today we remember all those who gave their lives so that we can live in freedom.

a person posing for the camera: Mr Freer became blind while being held prisoner by the Japanese© PA Mr Freer became blind while being held prisoner by the Japanese

"We also give our heartfelt thanks to those members of our armed forces, to veterans and their families, for all they do and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe."

a man reading a book: Mr Freer visits his father's grave to lay a wreath© PA Mr Freer visits his father's grave to lay a wreath

A blind 104-year-old veteran was the oldest marcher at the Cenotaph today.

Ron Freer, who served in the Second World War, said he was "hugely honoured" to march in tribute to those who fell in battle.

His father died in the First World War and is buried at the Somme in France.

Mr Freer, from Kent, marched on behalf of Blind Veterans UK, who were instrumental in helping him when he returned home blind in 1945.

He lost his sight due to malnourishment while being held as a Japanese prisoner of war for four years.

a stone building that has a sign on a sidewalk: The grave of Ron Freer's father, who died in the First World War, is in France© PA The grave of Ron Freer's father, who died in the First World War, is in France

Mr Freer joined the Army in 1931 and was posted to Hong Kong to defend the then British colony.

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Latin America . In June 1948, Soviet troops closed all rail, road and river access to the city of Berlin in an effort to choke it off. The move prompted the United States and its allies to come up with a bold plan to supply more than 2 million tons of goods by air to the divided city.

The Japanese attacked Fort Stanley, where Mr Freer was based, in late 1941.

His garrison surrendered against overwhelming odds after 18 days of fighting.

He became a Japanese prisoner of war (PoW) and remained so until the end of the Second World War.

Mr Freer, who ran a post office after the war, said: "The camp was situated on the edge of the harbour with high fences all around.

a man sitting on a table: Ron Freer is the oldest marcher on Remembrance Sunday© PA Ron Freer is the oldest marcher on Remembrance Sunday

"The Japanese brought in a bag of rice for each unit but only enough for one meal a day per man.

"We cut an oil drum in half and used the bottom as a boiling pot for the rice.

"Each man was given a scoop of rice but many were unable to eat it and looking at the portion of rice, one could see mice droppings and insects.

"Disease soon broke out resulting in many deaths."

The group of PoWs were transported on a ship called The Lisbon to Japan in 1943.

It was on this journey that diphtheria broke out among the 2,000 men aboard.

Mr Freer caught the infectious disease and his life was only saved by the actions of two doctors.

He said: "Lying in the hut with all the others suffering, I heard a voice say 'turn over sergeant', I was then injected with something and the voice said, 'you are very lucky'.

"I knew then that it was our medical officer. He later told me that a Japanese civilian doctor had managed to smuggle in six phials of anti-diphtheria toxin so the two of them had saved my life."

Mr Freer had completely lost his sight and most of his hearing a month later, and spent the remainder of the war in the camp medical hut.

He returned to the UK via the Philippines and New Zealand after the war.

It was then that his journey with Blind Veterans UK, then known as St Dunstan's, began.

Mr Freer has been supported by the charity since 1946 and has gone on to live a full, happy, independent life.

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