Wiltshire

VE Day 2020: Norwegians to send thanks to liberation veteran

Kenneth Foster in 2017 and in 1945 Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Kenneth Foster, pictured in 2017 and 1945, joined destroyer HMS Viceroy as a telegrapher

A World War Two veteran unable to travel to Europe for VE Day will receive digital thank you messages for his part in liberating Norway.

Kenneth Foster, 95, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, joined destroyer HMS Viceroy aged 17 as a telegrapher in 1944.

It was responsible for sinking two U-boats and played a key role in freeing Norwegian towns from the Germans.

He has been given a computer designed for older users so Norwegians can message their thanks on #TakkKenneth.

Mr Foster, who was born in Sheffield, said he was "fearful of the sea" when he first joined up but "had to get used to it".

In 1945, his ship was sent to liberate Norway and return Norwegian Prince Olav, who had been exiled in the UK, to Stavanger.

Image copyright No Isolation
Image caption HMS Viceroy was responsible for sinking two U-boats and played a key role in freeing Norwegian towns from the Germans

Recalling the mission, Mr Foster said: "After Stavanger, we visited Trondheim and the town band turned out and we marched through the town with people lining the streets.

"It was all quite strange because there were German soldiers and we didn't know what to do with them, so they ended up being in the crowd as we marched through."

He also recalled an engagement on 16 April 1945 when the Viceroy was escorting a convoy off Sunderland and was attacked and sank a U-boat.

"There was a huge container which should have contained life rafts, but instead it was full of bottles of schnapps," he said.

"We sent a presentation of the schnapps to Churchill."

Image caption Mr Foster was awarded the Norwegian Medal of Honour in 2017

On VE Day the rest of the crew celebrated with rum while he was only allowed juice because of his age.

Since his part in Norway's liberation, Mr Foster has visited the country on several occasions and in 2017 was awarded the Norwegian Medal of Honour.

Karen Dolva, from No Isolation which supplied the computer, said: "We were proud to step-up and offer our Komp technology and ensure that the current health crisis does not result in Kenneth - or any of his generation - feeling their sacrifices have been forgotten."

The one-button computer with a little screen allows Mr Foster to receive texts, images and calls from family members when a message has #TakkKenneth.

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