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Centenarian naval veteran re-presented with medals on VJ Day

Centenarian naval veteran re-presented with medals on VJ Day
14 August 2020
For 100-year-old John Jude of Cambridge, there was a moment to savour on the 75th anniversary of VJ-Day when he was presented with his medals, having lost the original set.

Commodore David Elford, Naval Regional Commander for the East of England, made the presentation at Cambridge Guildhall, also delivering Mr Jude a letter of congratulations from the First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin.

The re-issued medals recognise five years of wartime service, mostly in coastal defence units as a gunner and on vessels in the Mediterranean.

The Royal Navy was alerted by Cambridge City Council to their loss by the Mayor of Cambridge. Councillor Russ McPherson met Mr Jude on his 100th birthday during June in a video call to his care home in Cambridge.

We are honoured and privileged that Mr Jude, as a veteran of the Second World War, was able to join us to receive his medals. On this anniversary, it is important that we remember what we owe the veterans of the Far East campaign. They liberated South East Asia; they brought an end to the Second World War; they changed the course of history for the better; and, sadly, many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Cdre Elford

Mr Jude never saw action in the Far East, but the VJ-Day anniversary was chosen as an appropriate day on which to present the six medals (listed below) and an armed forces veterans’ badge

He said: "I never thought this day would come, and I am proud of what has happened. It is an honour, and I am proud to wear them."

Cllr McPherson said: “I am immensely proud and pleased that in some small way we are able to help mark Mr Jude’s magnificent achievements both as a respected former member of his majesty’s armed forces in wartime and in reaching 100 years. 

“When we learned that his medals had passed into history, we felt very strongly that we needed to do something about it, and the amazing co-operation and enthusiasm of both the Royal Navy and the Mayor’s executive assistant has got us to where we are now.”

Having completed basic training at HMS Collingwood, Mr Jude was drafted onto HMS Farndale from April 1941 until March the following year, mainly patrolling the Mediterranean from Egypt. However, the destroyer was severely damaged in February and he was then Drafted to HMS Naiad in Malta. His stint in a light cruiser lasted just seven days until she suffered severe torpedo damage from German aircraft during operations around Crete and sank on 11 March. 

The rest of his war was spent at Coastal Forces bases and on a variety of motor launches and motor torpedo boats around the European theatre. He injured his leg shortly after VE-Day but remained with the Royal Navy for nearly 13 years, the final years as part of the Royal Fleet Reserve.

He returned to his home town of Norwich where he worked in the Mackintosh chocolate factory, recently reopened after being demolished during the war. 

Cdre Elford and the Mayor had earlier led a two-minute silence at the Guildhall to mark the anniversary, buglers from the Royal Marines Band Service playing the Last Post.   

Mr Jude’s medals:

  • War Medal 39-45
  • War Star 39-45
  • France & Germany Star
  • Italy Star
  • Africa Star with North Africa Clasp



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