Eric gets his Arctic Star medal . . . eventually!

Eric Lawton receives his Arctic Star medal from Depty Mayor of Calderdale Christine Beal
Eric Lawton receives his Arctic Star medal from Depty Mayor of Calderdale Christine Beal

During World War Two Eric Lawton was in constant fear for his life as he served on the treacherous Arctic convoys.

And, now nearly 70 years later he has been rightfully recognised for his efforts with the presentation of an Arctic Star medal.

The convoys took supplies to the Soviet Union and came under repeated attack in high seas and freezing weather.

It was called the “worst journey in the world” by Sir Winston Churchill and 3,000 men died on the convoys.

But, the heroes were overlooked when medals were awarded after the war due to tensions with the Soviet Union.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of the Arctic medal in December after a long campaign.

Eric, 88, of Newlands Drive, Northowram, Halifax, joined the Royal Navy in 1943 and after basic training joined HMS Indefatigable.

He said the medal was a long time arriving for himself and his colleagues.

“I thought we would never get it,” he said.

“My memories are mostly of the sea. It was atrocious.

“When the ship’s bow went down we thought it would not come back up again.

“I was a stoker down below, the seamen up top got the worst, if their nose ran it would freeze.

“We were under constant attack. It was terrifying.”

Eric proudly wore his medal for the first time at the annual reunion of Indefatigable veterans in Portsmouth.

Sharing his proud moment with him were another four generations of the “Lawton boys” son Paul, grandson Tyrone, great-grandson Lee and great-great grandson Ethan.

That was followed by an official presentation of the medal at the Halifax branch meeting of the Royal Naval Association held at the Ukrainian Club, Halifax.