Naval war hero from Kilve to be honoured - at last

This is The West Country: Veteran Peter Baker. Veteran Peter Baker.

A ROYAL Navy veteran is pleased that his and his colleagues’ efforts in the Arctic convoys of the Second World War will finally be recognised.

Peter Baker, 89, from Kilve, was angry at the Government’s recent rejection of the Russian Feder-ation’s request to award the 200 sailors still alive with the Medal of Ushakov as a symbol of its gratitude.

The Government itself had previously refused to recognise the men’s bravery because the conflict was too long ago.

But Prime Minister David Cameron announced last week that an Arctic Star medal will be minted to honour the survivors who risked their lives in sub-zero temperatures to keep supply routes open.

Winston Churchill described it as the ‘worst journey in the world’.

Mr Cameron told the House of Commons: “On this issue of medals that has gone on for a very long time, I’m delighted to be able to tell the House that we have reached a resolution.

“I am very pleased that some of the brace men of the Arctic Convoy will get the recognition they so richly deserve for the brave work they did.”

Mr Baker said: “I am not really surprised that David Cameron has made this decision because we have been putting the Government under pressure from all angles about this.

“When he was in opposition he was all for the medal, so it is high time, too! I am very pleased about it – it has been a lovely Christmas present.

“There is some talk that the medal might be awarded posthumously to those who have died before now but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

More than 66,000 sailors and merchant seamen played a part in the convoys and 3,000 died in the treacherous conditions.

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