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Nazi war criminal guard honoured

5 October 09 16:30 GMT

A soldier who guarded Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess was among veterans honoured at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones presented campaign medals and badges to five former servicemen and women.

Motherwell-based John Romanes, 43, guarded Hess at the Spandau prison during his service in Berlin.

Lt Cdr David Chauvelin, from Edinburgh, received his Afghanistan service medal for his service as a Royal Navy reservist in Helmand Province.

Robert Watt, also from Edinburgh, was presented with a general service medal with a Palestine clasp for the two years he spent in the army between 1946 and 1948.

Iain Monro, from Linlithgow, who joined the Army in 1997, and Helen Edgar, from Glenrothes in Fife, who joined the Women's Royal Navy Service (WRNS) in 1953, were also handed veterans badges at the ceremony at the City Chambers.

Speaking about Hess, Mr Romanes, said: "I didn't have any feelings for him, I just thought he was a sad old man.

"You would see him in the gardens walking around, but he was just bent in two.

"I never spoke to him, you weren't allowed to speak to him."

Mr Romanes, who served from 1981 to 1992 with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and has also spent time in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Canada, said the recognition "means a lot" to him.

He said: "It's a way of honouring the service that I've carried out in the military, which I'm very proud of.

"It also means I've got a veterans badge which I can wear and it's instantly recognisable in the service veterans community."

Long hours

Mr Chauvelin, 43, who joined the Royal Navy in 1991, and has also been deployed in Sicily, said he was "delighted" to have his contribution recognised in such a way.

He said: "As a reservist for 18 years, I've done a number of exciting and interesting jobs, but I was proud to serve on current operations in Afghanistan alongside my regular colleagues.

"It was challenging work and long hours but I enjoyed every minute.

Getting the medal today marks a great personal achievement for me."

Mr Chauvelin served in Afghanistan, managing computer systems to make sure the troops had the correct IT in place.

Mr Jones said the country "owes a great deal" to the men and women who have served in the armed forces over the years.

The minister added: "The best bit of my job is when we actually honour both veterans young and old.

"Today had exactly that spectrum of veterans."

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