Two East Kent Freemasons, Leslie Savill and Kenneth Warrener, have been awarded France’s highest military honour, the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. This decoration is awarded by the French Government to British forces veterans for helping to liberate France from the Nazis during the Second World War. The Order of the Legion D’Honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 and is the highest decoration in France. A Chevalier, or Knight, is one of the five Divisions of the Order.
KENNETH WILLIAM WARRENER
Kenneth William Warrener, a Past Master of the Chillington Manor Lodge No 4649 in Maidstone, was recently made a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur for his wartime exploits in France. Ken was a member of the Royal Marines and landed with the invasion forces on the Normandy beaches on 6th June 1944. The award by the French Government is in recognition of his participation in the D-Day landings.
Ken is reluctant to expand upon his experiences on that momentous day, or to provide any details of his involvement in the rest of the war. After leaving the Royal Marines he took up a career in the paper industry which lasted until his retirement.
Ken, now 90, was the Master of Chillington Manor in 1990 and achieved Provincial Grand Rank in 1998. He was an active member of the Lodge until advancing years limited his activities. He and his wife, Rita, attended all the social functions, including the seaside-based Ladies Weekends and, with his rather wicked sense of humour, he played a starring role. Kent still attends Lodge and Committee meetings when he can find someone to act as his chauffeur.
When the award of the medal became known the current Master of the lodge, John Hopper, led a formal tribute on behalf of the lodge, the details being read by Past Master Barry Dart. Ken is shown in front of the Lodge Banner and wearing his Legion d’Honneur medal.
LESLIE JAMES SAVILL
Leslie James Savill, a Past Master of the Chantry Lodge No 6454 in Gravesend, served in the Royal Marines during WW II. Not only did he receive recognition for his services from his own Country but last year, at the Russian Embassy in London, he was presented with the Ushakov Medal (given to veterans of the Artic Convoys) and a 70th Anniversary Medal. In April this year he will be decorated by the French Government when he receives his Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur medal.
Leslie served as Master of the Chantry Lodge in 1989 and was promoted in Provincial Grand Rank in 2009. In recognition of his long and faithful services to the lodge, he was elected as an Honorary Member in February.