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Instow and Appledore are especially proud to hear of the gallantry and leadership in Sicily of two friends, both regular soldiers, who come from the twin towns of the estuary. Both have been awarded the DSO, in one case this being in the form of a bar to a previous award.

7 September 1943 Valentine and Durnford Slater WW2

A bar to the DSO he received for the Commando raid on Vaagso, has been awarded to Lieut-Col J Durnford-Slater, of Instow, a son of the late Capt L Slater of the Royal Sussex Regiment, who lost his life early in the last war, and the late Mrs Durnford-Slater whose death occurred at Instow, where had lived for many years, nearly a month ago. Before the war, Lieut-Col Durnford-Slater, whose parent regiment is the Royal Artillery, had served in India and had also held for a while a gunner Territorial adjutancy near Falmouth. He has been in the Commando since their formation and his appointment as Lieut-Col made him the youngest in the Army. After being engaged in Commando operations in Europe he went to the Middle East and has been recently with the Eighth Army in Sicily. He has spent much of his time at Instow and played cricket for the North Devon Cricket Club and rugby football for Bideford. His elder brother, Commander C F Durnford-Slater, is in the Royal Navy. Lieut-Col A W Valentine, whose immediate award on the field of the DSO, the Bideford Gazette briefly announced last week, is a son of the late Dr W A Valentine of Appledore. He commanded a battalion of the Devons in Malta, where he served throughout the heavy air bombardment of that island. On the invasion of Sicily he took part with his battalion in the heavy hand to hand fighting there, and with a tommy gun at his hip led a company of the Devons. Lieut-Col Valentine already held the MBE.

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