Chelsea Pensioner John Humphreys awarded Thank You Liberators Medal

31st January 2023

WWII Veteran and Chelsea Pensioner, Lt Col John Humphreys OBE DL, was today awarded the Thank You Liberators Medal.

At 101 years old, John had been a soldier since the age of 16, serving in the Royal Engineers. He was captured twice during WWII: once in Tobruk, Libya, and once after the Battle of Arnhem in Holland, where he served in the Parachute Regiment. On both occasions, John used his ingenuity to escape, surviving a tortuous 400km walk across Italy and rowing down the Rhine in a stolen boat.

In recognition of his distinguished military service, and particularly in respect of his service to the Netherlands during WWII, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Piso, Military Attaché from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, presented John with the Thank You Liberators Medal at a private reception held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

During the presentation, Lt Col Piso described John as a legend while recounting the details of his two successful escapes from captivity as a prisoner of war.

John joins a small number of men and women who have been honoured for their efforts to defend and liberate the Netherlands during WWII. 

Royal Hospital Chelsea Newsletter

Stay up to date with what's going on at The Royal Hospital by signing up for our e‑newsletter.


View the archive

Two Chelsea Pensioners opening the gate to the Soane Stable Yard
Royal Hospital Chelsea joins the Chelsea Heritage Quarter and Chelsea History Festival this September with special previews of the Soane Stable Yard

We are delighted to announce that the Royal Hospital Chelsea will be part of the Chelsea History Festival once again this year, from Wednesday 25 to Sunday 29 September 2024 and part of the new Chelsea Heritage Quarter – London’s new heritage destination. 

King's Birthday Honours 2024
Royal Hospital Model of Care recognised in two awards at King’s Birthday Honours

The Royal Hospital Chelsea’s model of care for older veterans has been recognised through awards for two members of staff in The King's Birthday Honours list this year.