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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Heroes launch poppy scratch card
Poppy appeal
Lt Col Eric Wilson, Col Stuart Archer were joined by Penny Lancaster
Two World War II heroes have helped launch a scratch card which aims to raise cash for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

Lt Colonel Eric Wilson, 92, of Dorset, Col Stuart Archer, 89, from London, celebrated the launch of the cards at the Imperial War Museum.

Lt Col Wilson was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross after military chiefs presumed he was killed-in-action.

Col Archer won the George Cross for protecting oil works in South Wales.

Valour and honour

Lt Col Wilson said: "I'm delighted to do anything possible to help the Royal British Legion in its work to raise money."

Despite being under constant artillery bombardment, he bravely defended his observation post for four days in Somaliland in 1940, while suffering from shrapnel wounds and malaria.

Army chiefs thought it would be a miracle if he survived the battle.

But Lt Col Wilson, who served with the East Surrey Regiment and was seconded to the Somaliland Camel Corps, cheated death.

I'm just humbled, astounded and have enormous respect for those that have fought for us

Model Penny Lancaster

It was in an Italian prison-of-war camp that he learned of the honour.

Col Archer, from Southgate, who has been chairman of the VC and GC Association since 1994, served with 104 Bomb Disposal Section Corps of Royal Engineers.

He was awarded the George Cross for risking his life to help protect the oil refineries and airfields of South Wales from Luftwaffe bombs.

The pair were joined for the publicity launch by model Penny Lancaster, 33, who said the country "owed a debt to the service men and women who had fought for their country".

"I'm just humbled, astounded and have enormous respect for those that have fought for us.

"Especially with the war going on now (in Iraq), I cannot say thanks enough."



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