A HAWORTH resident has spoken of his pride after his late father was awarded the Arctic Star medal – 73 years late.
John Huxley's father, Richard, served on board a Free French corvette on two of the notoriously gruelling Arctic convoys to Russia and also on Atlantic convoys to Newfoundland during the Second World War. He died in 1989, aged 73.
The medal and accompanying citation which he was eligible for arrived last week, 18 months after Mr Huxley's sister, Jane, began the application process.
Mr Huxley, who is chairman of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, said: "It's better late than never. I'm proud of him.
"The convoys were a crucial part of World War Two, and the people who served on them seemed to get forgotten, a bit like the men from Bomber Command.
"I think my father would be genuinely pleased to have been recognised."
Mr Huxley said his father had only started talking in any detail about his wartime service in the last two or three years of his life.
He said: "It had a big impact on him, and like a lot of men who served he would have seen some pretty horrific things.
"He was on a Free French corvette, which on one occasion rammed and sunk a German U-Boat.
"He said that for the whole time he was on one of the convoys he was never dry, and nothing much happened, that is of course until they got within range of the German aircraft."
Mr Huxley explained that his father had been a signals petty officer with the Royal Navy, then was subsequently a radar mechanic with the Fleet Air Arm in India.
He was posted to the French corvette, FFS Roselys, as part of a small English-speaking detachment, present to ensure vital signals were correctly interpreted.
Mr Huxley said his sister, a retired teacher who lives near Manchester, started investigating whether their father could gain the Arctic Star posthumously after learning about a separate case where a family successfully applied for their own relative.
"The Government had decided that the medal should be made available to more families, so my sister began making enquiries," he said. "She has been very dedicated.
"The medal itself arrived last Monday in a small box, along with a short citation. We were very excited to receive it, and my sister is now working out the best way to have it displayed. It's certainly something for the family archive."