Surprise (socially distanced) Celebrations for Centenarian Veteran

Surprise (socially distanced) Celebrations for Centenarian Veteran

1 December 2020

Cadet Sgt Major Ryan Atkins from Deal Detachment recently attended a (socially distanced) surprise parade for Mr Richard Samson who recently turned 100 years of age.

Ryan attended as Standard Bearer for the Royal British Legion Downs Branch; he's also a Lord Lieutenant's Cadet.

Mr Richard Samson's service history:  

January 17th, 1936 Richard travelled by train to the Grand Depot at Woolwich Arsenal, the home of boy soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

He was 15.  

He was a boy Trumpeter and was a horseman.  

He sailed for France in early October 1939.  

He reached Rouen and joined “A” field Regiment. His exploits are recorded in the Royal Artillery Commemoration Book under the heading “Burns Tigers” culminating at Dunkirk.  

After Dunkirk he met Lilian in the UK and was posted to South England (1941) in Defence.  

Left England for Egypt May 1942.  

Battle of Halam Halfa, Western Desert.   

Battle of El Alamein 23rd Oct - 4th Nov 1942.  

Travelled to Sicily 1943 then through Italy 1944.  

Went back to the UK and was seconded to the Royal Engineers where he stayed for the rest of the war.

He did go to officers training for a period during this time but decided that it wasn’t for him as he was too long a soldier and in his words “I didn’t want people saluting to me.”  

Went to the Battle of Normandy March 1944 and stayed in Europe until after the end of the war.  

We salute you Sir!


1939-1944 Star 

Africa Star  

Italy Star  

France and Germany Star  

Defence Medal  

War medal  

Dunkirk Medal  

French Dunkirk medal  

Normandy Medal  

French Presidents Medal  

The Legion d’honneur - presented 2017