Video: Veteran picks up Arctic Star medal

A veteran from Doncaster has finally been awarded a medal for his service on the Arctic convoys during the Second World War.

Geoffrey Swapp, 89, was presented with an Arctic Star medal for his service as a gunner aboard the HMS Kent during the Arctic convoy missions between 1942 and 1944.

Geoffrey Swapp, 90, of Balby holds up his Arctic Star medal which has been presented to him by Rosie Winterton MP and Civic Mayor Christine Mills. Picture: Andrew Roe

Geoffrey Swapp, 90, of Balby holds up his Arctic Star medal which has been presented to him by Rosie Winterton MP and Civic Mayor Christine Mills. Picture: Andrew Roe

His ship was one of dozens which were sent into the Arctic Circle to transport vital supplies to the Soviet Union after the Nazis invaded.

Thousands perished in the icy conditions and it was a trip Winston Churchill once described as ‘the most dangerous journey in the world’.

Mr Swapp, of Westbourne Gardens, Balby, was presented with his medal at the Mansion House by Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton and outgoing civic mayor Christine Mills.

He paid tribute to his fallen comrades after receiving the medal and told the Free Press: “I always think about the lads who died. But for those of us left, the medal is a long time coming. The thing I remember most is the cold. I had a balaclava on and could still see my breath through the wool. You had to be there to believe it. The conditions were horrendous.”

He is one of only about 300 Arctic convoy veterans left in the country. They have spent years campaigning for recognition until the Arctic Star medal was finally minted.

Miss Winterton said: “This recognition is long overdue. Everyone in Doncaster should be proud that Mr Swapp’s service in one of the world’s most dangerous wartime campaigns has finally been honoured.”