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Joy for Northamptonshire hero at medal 70 years late

David Whitehead from Brackley with his Actic Convoy Star medal and wife Margaret.
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David Whitehead from Brackley with his Actic Convoy Star medal and wife Margaret. 130413M-A639

A sailor in the treacherous Arctic convoys that were vital in winning World War Two will be presented with his medal this morning.

David Whitehead, aged 88, from Brackley, braved temperatures of up to -30C and the constant threat of U-Boats as his ship helped escort supplies to keep Russia in the war in 1944. Previously, the only medals the Arctic Convoy sailors had received were anniversary medals from the Russian government.

Today he will finally receive one of the newly-struck Arctic Convoy medals, issued by the British Government, from Andrea Leadsom MP, who had campaigned for recognition from the veterans’ own country.

Mr Whitehead, who was a radio operator aboard HMS Domett, said: “I never thought I’d see this day.

“I can’t understand why it has taken them so long. The Cold War has always been the official reason, but the medals should have been issued when the Berlin Wall came down.

“I was 18 when I was on the convoy. This has been a long time coming.”

Mr Whitehead was keen to express his gratitude to South Northamptonshire MP Mrs Leadsom, who, with a handful of other MPs, lobbied for medals to be handed out.

He said: “It’s appropriate that she should present it because it is the end of her very successful campaign. She has done a very good job for us who remain.”

 

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