How campaign fought to make sure Northampton veteran got the honour he deserved

It took 75 for WO George Verden to be awarded his Ar Crew Europe Star for his service in WWII.
It took 75 for WO George Verden to be awarded his Ar Crew Europe Star for his service in WWII.

It took 75 years, but a Northampton veteran has been awarded a long-awaited medal for his service in the Second World War.

George Verden, who is 97, was only 18-years-old when he joined the Royal Air Force - but in his years he completed 49 operations as a rear gunner.

He even took part in a crucial mission operation on the eve of D-Day that helped clear the stage for the Normandy landings.

READ MORE: The veteran shared his story with the Chronicle and Echo this week of how the D-Day bombings couldn't stop him making it home to see his wife for her birthday.

But for all his efforts, George was denied the Air Crew Europe Star - despite earning the 1939-45 Star as well as the highest French military honour available, the Legion d'Honneur.

Instead, the medals office told him in 2017 he had not commenced his operations early enough to earn the Star.

But it comes after George discovered a long-lost slip of paper in his old WWII mess kit - one that proved he was owed the 39/45 Star and the Air Crew Europe Star.

However, the story was picked up by the Bomber Command Medal Campaign, which saw they could have a way of getting George his hard-earned medal.

Through research, they uncovered a 1946 document in the National Archives proved that aircrewmen like George were rightfully owed his medals.

Heather Allsworth, from Bomber Command Medal Campaign Group, said: "Although four months still have to be served by aircrew to qualify for both the 1939-45 Star and the Air Crew Europe Star, the first two months can be attributed to the Air Crew Europe Star.

"We are now pleased to say that George received his rightfully earned medal, which he is so thrilled to have received.

"But we believe it is time for a fair medal review for Bomber Command. In our opinion there are many unacceptable inconsistencies and anomalies with regards to their awards compared with other World War Two service medals.

"There is a high possibility of misapplication of rules and the potential that many veterans have been unfairly denied the award.”