TRIBUTES have been paid to a Dryslwyn war hero, 'great community servant' and 'true gentleman'.

David Tom Davies OBE, known as DT Davies, passed away at the age of 101 on Tuesday, April 7.

Mr Davies served as a councillor for his local area of Dryslwyn, near Llandeilo, from 1970 to 2003, chairing the former Dyfed County Council from 1981-82, Carmarthenshire County Council from 1995-97, and on several education committees and boards.

He was also one of three founder members of the National Botanic Garden of Wales as well as Aberglasney Gardens, where he was a life member.

Before service to his community, Mr Davies served Queen and Country in WWII as a member of the Royal Artillery, and was captured as a prisoner of war at the Battle of Crete in 1941.

He spent three years as a prisoner in Austria, then Hungary and finally at the Zemun concentration camp, near Belgrade.

However, he managed to escape five times, eventually reaching Yugoslavia and joining the partisans before being invalided out to Italy and sent back to Britain where he was awarded a Military Medal.

He wrote an account of his wartime exploits in a book entitled “All for Freedom - A True story of escape from the Nazis” which was published in 2016.

On his 100th birthday, the Honorary Freedom of Carmarthenshire was conferred in a special ceremony at Carmarthen’s County Hall, where Mr Davies was joined by members of his family.

The council has confirmed that flags will be flown at half-mast at Carmarthenshire’s civic buildings on the day of Mr Davies’s funeral, which is yet to be announced.

Paying tribute to him, Councillor Edward Thomas said: "It is with very great sadness that I announce the passing of a great servant to this community and this county, D T Davies.

"DT, as he was known to all, passed away aged 101, his health had not been 100 per cent of late, but still took an active interest in his community.

"A reluctant war hero who published his recollection of his time during WW2 - a prisoner of war and a partisan with Tito army in Yugoslavia.

"He went on to build a business, served as County Councillior, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council and many other roles.

"Our sympathies are extended to his family and all who had the pleasure of knowing him a true gentleman."

The announcement drew an outpouring of tributes to Mr Davies online.

Among them, Carmarthenshire County Council chair Kevin Madge said: "I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"I had the privilege of serving with him when I came on to the council I learned so much from him his services to Carmarthenshire has been outstanding.

"He will be sadly missed. He was a great man."

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of DT Davies, a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

"He was a man with a huge strength of character, and as a council we enjoyed his visit to County Hall on his 100th birthday when it was our pleasure to grant him the Honorary Freedom of Carmarthenshire.

“He led an interesting life, serving Queen and Country in WWII as a member of the Royal Artillery, spending three years as a prisoner of war and escaping his captors before returning to Britain – tales he proudly told in a book he published in 2016.

“On behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council, I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to his family. DT was a wonderful man, and he will be sorely missed.”

David Tom Davies is survived by his wife Betty and four children, Ann, Graham, Michael and Andrew.