A ROYAL Navy veteran has finally received a medal honouring his efforts in the Arctic Convoys of the Second World War.
Peter Baker, 90, from Kilve, was a young man when he braved sub-zero temperatures and the threat from German forces to transport supplies to the Soviet Union in northern Russia between 1939-45.
Winston Churchill described it as the ‘worst journey in the world’ but it was only in December last year that Prime Minister David Cameron announced that an Arctic Star medal would be minted to honour survivors who risked their lives, about 70 years later.
The move came after anger over the Government’s rejection of the Russian Federation’s request to present the 200 surviving sailors with the Medal of Ushakov as a symbol of its gratitude, arguing the conflict was too long ago.
Mr Baker can now add the Arctic Star, on which he believes the central white stripe represents the Arctic, to the medals he has already received for his service.
He said: “I am quite proud of receiving the medal and I am just so pleased to have it after all these years.
“I think the general opinion among survivors is that although it has taken a long time, it is worth it. They were very brave men.
“I am glad that David Cameron decided to award the medals because we put the Government under pressure from all angles about this for some time.”
More than 66,000 sailors, merchant seamen and some servicemen from the RAF and Army played a part in the convoys and 3,000 died in the treacherous conditions.
Survivors and next of kin of servicemen involved in the convoys can apply for the Arctic Star by calling the MOD Medal Office on 08457-800900.