Star medal for Middle Rasen 
man after decades of waiting

Colin Walford with his Arctic Star
Colin Walford with his Arctic Star

A Middle Rasen man has been awarded a medal for part of his Royal Navy Service after almost 70 years of waiting.

Colin Walford, 88, was one of the tens of thousands of seamen from the Royal Navy and Merchant services to take part in the Arctic Convoys of the Second World War.

And like many of the veterans of what Winston Churchill described as the ‘worst journey in the world’,Mr Walford agrees it has been a long time coming.

“It is very nice to get it, but it would have been appreciated more if it had been awarded sooner,” he said.

The Arctic Convoys took crucial supplies and weapons to Russia, through a narrow passage between the Arctic ice packs and German bases in Norway to the ports of Murmansk and Archangel.

Mr Walford joined the Royal Navy in 1943 and the following year made two convoy runs - in the February aboard The Strulle and November aboard The Louie.

“I was originally in the Atlantic Convoy,” said Mr Walford.

“And while the Arctic runs were hazardous, the Atlantic Convoy was more hectic.

“One of the worst experiences was coming from Newfoundland and hitting a heavy Atlantic storm.

“The important thing is to never lose faith in the strength of the ship.”

After joining the Royal Navy, Mr Walford underwent his initial training at Butlins in Ingoldmells, before being based at Chatham and then Northern Ireland.

He was heading to join the Pacific Fleet when the War ended, so instead spent time in Bombay and Trincomalee.

Operations there included taking the 15th Indian Lancers into Java and taking medical supplies to the Laccadive Islands where smallpox had broken out.