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Two survivors of the first major naval battle of the Second World War, which saw HMS Exeter play a brave and central role, are to be honoured with a civic dinner at the Guildhall.

Jim London and Basil Trott were serving on the cruiser Exeter during the Battle of the River Plate which was fought out on December 13 1939 and ended with the sinking of the German battleship Graf Spee.

After the battle HMS Exeter returned to Devon and was granted the Freedom of the City.

On February 29 1940, a leap year, her crew marched through Exeter, from St David’s Station through High Street, cheered on my huge crowds.

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