A military hero from Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, has received the Arctic Star in recognition of his service in a Royal Navy cruiser escorting convoys to Russia during the Second World War.
Ron Herrington, 86, received his medal from Anthony Chisenhale-Marsh, Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, at a ceremony at the Crown Hotel in Grewelthorpe, organised by the local Royal British Legion branch.
“This medal has been a long time coming, but I’m very pleased and proud to have it,” Mr Herrington told the Gazette.
Mr Herrington joined the Royal Navy in 1943 at the age of 17, and was first stationed on the south coast of England in support of the D-Day invasions. A few days before the invasion he was sent to Scapa Flow in Orkney, to join the crusier HMS Berwick, which was acting as escort to the convoys taking supplies across the North Sea to the allies in Russia.
His first role was in the cordite room in the lowest part of the ship and later he was part of the crew of one of the ship’s four-inch guns.
“We were on four hour shifts, and we often felt shattered,” said Mr Herrington. “It was rough and we often had to chip ice off the guns. In bad weather the cooks couldn’t work, so we lived on soup, ships biscuits and ‘chai’ – a mixture of cocoa, custard powder and condensed milk – which was excellent!”
He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to the men of all three services who worked on the Arctic Convoys – many of them didn’t return, and many have died in the meantime.”