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War veteran and former chairman given Freedom of Carmarthenshire

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War veteran and former chairman given Freedom of Carmarthenshire

Posted By Robert Lloyd

A former Chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council has been granted the Honorary Freedom of Carmarthenshire on his 100th birthday.

David Tom Davies OBE, known as DT Davies, served as a councillor for his local area of Dryslwyn, near Llandeilo, from 1970 to 2003, chairing the former Dyfed County Council from 1981-82, Carmarthenshire County Council from 1995-97, and on several education committees and boards.

He is also one of three founder members of the National Botanic Garden of Wales as well as Aberglasney Gardens, where he is a life member.

Before service to his community, Mr Davies served Queen and Country in WWII as a member of the Royal Artillery, and was captured as a prisoner of war at the Battle of Crete in 1941.

He spent three years as a prisoner in Austria, then Hungary and finally at the Zemun concentration camp, near Belgrade.

However, he managed to escape five times, eventually reaching Yugoslavia and joining the partisans before being invalided out to Italy and sent back to Britain where he was awarded a Military Medal.

He wrote an account of his wartime exploits in a book entitled “All for Freedom – A True story of escape from the Nazis” which was published in 2016.

On July 11, on his 100th birthday, the Honorary Freedom of Carmarthenshire was conferred in a special ceremony at Carmarthen’s County Hall, where Mr Davies was joined by members of his family.

Cllr Cefin Campbell, who now serves the Llanfihangel Aberbythych ward, was among those who nominated Mr Davies for the Honorary Freedom.

He spoke of Mr Davies’s selfless commitment to his community and his respectful ability as a Chairman, as well as his remarkable determination and resilience during his wartime service.

Of the nomination, he said: “It’s the biggest honour Carmarthenshire can give to one of his daughters and sons, and I can think of no-one more deserving.”

The granting of a Freedom of Carmarthenshire is a rare honour, and Mr Davies was presented with a scroll to mark the occasion by council Chairman Cllr Mansel Charles.

Mr Davies said it was an ‘amazing honour’.

“I’m very proud because it’s people such as yourselves – who represent the people of Carmarthenshire – that honour me today, and that means more to me than any honour I’ve received,” he said.

To date, the Freedom of the County of Carmarthenshire has only ever been awarded to the Royal Welsh Regiment in 2009 and to the late William David Thomas OBE for services to Local Government in 2014.

An honorary title conferred with a scroll, it does not carry special privileges to individual recipients, however the Royal Welsh Regiment have the freedom to march through the streets of Carmarthenshire on ceremonial occasions, with ‘drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and bayonets fixed’.

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