Medals presented to Arctic convoy veterans at last

VETERANS of the Arctic convoys in the Second World War were belatedly awarded medals for their service at a ceremony on Sunday.

Ex-Able Seamen Patrick Bushby and Edward Johnson were presented with the Arctic Star by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Harry Goring, Vice-Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, at Worthing Town Hall. Elsie Pidd, daughter of Petty Officer GI Percival Alexander Scott, and Tony Gray, son of Able Seaman James Gray, collected medals on behalf of their fathers.

W46742H14  Tony Gray, Elsie Pidd,  Edward Johnson and Patrick Bushby

W46742H14 Tony Gray, Elsie Pidd, Edward Johnson and Patrick Bushby

The Arctic convoys saw ships sail from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union – primarily Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk, to deliver vital supplies.

Mr Loughton said: “Winston Churchill described the Arctic convoys as the worst journey in the world.

“Three thousand gave their lives in this operation.

“There was the triple whammy of German U-boats, German Luftwaffe bombers and German crafts.

“If you combine that with the freezing water, you get an idea of how terrifying it was.”

Speaking after the presentation, Mr Bushby, 89, of Exmoor Crescent, Durrington, said: “It’s been lovely. To think I’ve got it after all these years. It was very hard. It was so cold.

“If you happened to touch a gun with your bare hands it would stick on it.

“We had to de-ice the ship every morning.”

Elsie, 67, of Bramble Crescent, Durrington, described this Remembrance Sunday as a ‘fantastic day’ and said she felt ‘very very proud’.

John Carne, 64, of Sea Lane, Goring, stumbled across the ceremony by accident, before realising his father, Charles Philip Carne, was also eligible for a medal, which he will receive.

Mr Carne said: “I was very proud of him.

“I knew nothing about this until today.

“I walked in to see my old friends, found out what it 
was about.

“I couldn’t just let it go by and say nothing because my dad was there with them.”