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WW2 sailor George completes his medal collection 104th birthday

3 January 2024
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What is the perfect gift for a 104-year-old sailor and WW2 veteran?

How about the medal to complete his collection for wartime service?

Serving sailors presented George Pearson with the Arctic Star – recognition of his time on convoys to the USSR between 1941 and 1945 – when they joined the centenarian at his home in Lincoln for 104th birthday celebrations.

Personnel attached to nearby RAF Waddington, led by Commander Les Smith, ensured the medal was presented on behalf of His Majesty the King with suitable ceremony.

Mr Pearson served as an aircraft maintainer/engineer during WW2, including service aboard carrier HMS Illustrious.

"We found out just a few weeks ago that he hadn't received one of his medals, so it was an absolute honour to present that to him,” said Commander Smith.

"The Arctic Star is all about the Arctic convoys and the ability to supplying Russia and to support them and enable us to defeat the oppressor.”

Unlike most WW2 decorations, the Arctic Star was not introduced until 2012, awarded specifically for personnel who took part in convoys to northern Russia, delivering vital supplies to help the Red Army defeat the Germans on the Eastern Front.

More than 100 ships were lost, including 16 warships, in 78 convoys which carried four million tonnes of war material to the Soviet Union.

At 104, George is – unsurprisingly – not merely one of Britain’s oldest sailors, but oldest men. There are an estimated 900 people of George’s age or older in the UK, of whom three quarters are women.

Still spritely, the veteran reflected on his remarkable journey, with memories of bravery and camaraderie flooding back.

“The event served as a reminder of the debt of gratitude owed to those who shaped history on the front lines, and George's 104th birthday celebration was a fitting tribute to a hero of the past,” said Warrant Officer 1 Jonny Keiller.

“Surrounded by friends, and fellow veterans, George's birthday became a moment of national pride, honouring not only an individual but an entire generation's resilience and courage.”

 
The event served as a reminder of the debt of gratitude owed to those who shaped history on the front lines, and George's 104th birthday celebration was a fitting tribute to a hero of the past.

Warrant Officer 1 Jonny Keiller

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