Arctic convoy heroes honoured

MEDALS recognising the dedication of veterans of the Second World War Arctic Convoys have been presented by Ipswich mayor Bill Wright.

MEDALS recognising the dedication of veterans of the Second World War Arctic Convoys have been presented by Ipswich mayor Bill Wright.

He presented four medals to veterans and their families at a special ceremony in the mayor's parlour in the Town Hall.

And a further two veterans who were given medals at a Royal British Legion ceremony also met the mayor.

Doug Carter, 79, was a teenager on HMS Bellona when it sailed to Murmansk in 1943 - but his experience did not put him off navy life.

He said: “I joined up as a 15-year-old and I was 16 when I was on my first convoy. I was on the same ship as some others who have received medals from the mayor.

“It was tough, but I signed up for 25 years and had a good career in the navy. I have no complaints at all.”

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Another veteran, Roy Combes, was only on one convoy in 1944 but also served throughout the world during a long navy career.

He said: “It was tough, but you didn't think about the danger at the time. After then I served in the Med and our ship, HMS Berwick, was involved in the D-day landings in the top of the English Channel.”

After the war he was on ships patrolling the coast of Palestine trying to prevent the settlement of what later became Israel.

“I'm 82 now,” he said. “But if I could turn the clock back, I'd do it all again.”

Other people who received medals on Thursday were Frederick Coleman, John Hawkins on behalf of his father Lt F W Hawkins and Lily Annis on behalf of Douglas Annis.

Earlier in the day Mr Wright had presented a medal to Alfred Watts at his home in Stoke Park. Mr Watts was unable to attend the ceremony in the parlour.

As part of the ceremony Mr Wright presented an Unsung Hero award to Taff Gillingham, whose military recreations have kept memories of the First World War alive for many people in the Ipswich area.

Are you getting a medal for dedication or hard work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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