Mexborough veteran finally gets his medal

Frank Garbutt, of Mexborough, has finally received his Artic Star medal. Picture: Marie Caley S0705MC
Frank Garbutt, of Mexborough, has finally received his Artic Star medal. Picture: Marie Caley S0705MC
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A Royal Navy veteran has finally received a medal recognising his service during World War Two.

Frank Garbutt, 89, spoke of his delight at receiving the Arctic Star for his role aboard the Arctic convoy ships, which transported supplies to the Soviet Union after the Nazi invasion.

The medal was created following a long-battle to see the veterans who took part in the harsh sea campaign formally recognised.

The great-grandfather-of-ten, of Coronation Court, Mexborough, said: “I am thrilled to finally have the medal. I never believed it would come until I had it in my hands.

“It has taken a long time to come and I think we should have been recognised straight after the war.”

Mr Garbutt and other veterans have previously been presented with medals from the Russian Federation for their contribution to the Soviet war effort.

But a medal from the British Government has been delayed for decades, which veterans blamed on Cold War politics.

Labour leader and Mexborough MP Ed Miliband has been involved in the campaign to recognise the veterans.

He said: “Mr Garbutt’s heroism has already been recognised by the Russian Government and it is only right he is rewarded by his own country too.”

A spokesman for Mr Miliband added that the MP hoped to visit Mr Garbutt during a formal medal presentation ceremony, planned to take place in Mexborough on July 12.

Between 1942 and 1944, dozens of convoys of merchant ships, escorted by Royal Navy warships, were sent into the Arctic Circle to transport vital supplies.

Mr Garbutt, a sailor on the escort carrier HMS Activity, completed two Arctic convoys between January and April 1944, with 30-40 ships in each.

He said: “I can still remember those lads that perished. I’ll never forget them.”