ARCTIC Convoy veterans will be presented with medals 70 years after sailing to Russia.
Former merchant navy seamen will be honoured at a ceremony on Wednesday, where the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Nigel Sherlock, will formally present them with their Arctic Stars.
The 11 veterans will be acknowledged for their service between 1941 and 1945 in delivering supplies of food and weapons to the Soviet Union.
The ceremony, to be held in South Shields Town Hall, will be hosted by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson and Ms Patricia Ridley.
Orston Bulman, 94, of Cleadon, John Clayburn, 87, of Fulwell, and George Lomax, 94, of Gilley Law, are among those attending the presentation, which they have said is long overdue.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Mr Bulman, who sailed in the PQ16 convoy in May 1942.
“I can’t really believe it’s happening 70 years on.”
The ceremony was arranged after the ex-merchant navy engineer complained to his son, Philip, also a former chief engineer in the merchant navy, that he had received his medal through the post.
Philip, 60, assisted by Colonel David Summers, of the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, asked the Lord Lieutenant to present the medals.
“I’m really pleased it is going ahead,” said Philip. “My dad was quite upset about his medal landing on his doormat, and now he is over the moon.”
Mr Bulman, who has already received one medal from the Russian government, and two from the British government, said: “It’s quite unbelievable that this happened because I complained about my medal arriving by post.
“If I hadn’t said anything, they never would have agreed to do it.”
“My family are all looking forward to it. There will be eight of us going. And it will be nice for all the veterans to get together – those of us who are left.”
Coun Gibson, said: “The borough is proud to be hosting a civic reception for the heroic Arctic Convoy veterans, who have been honoured with the Arctic Star medal for their bravery during World War Two.
“Everyone owes their present-day freedom to noble people like the Arctic Convoy veterans, and it is wonderful for them to be acknowledged for services to their country by Her Majesty the Queen.”