Medal joy at last for Arctic veteran

ATLANTIC STAR: Campos Cristobal, 94, with his medal.
ATLANTIC STAR: Campos Cristobal, 94, with his medal.
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A SPANISH Civil War veteran who mastered a Korean martial art at the age of 94 has just received long-overdue recognition – for his support of Russia in the Second World War.

Super-fit Cristobal Campos, of Don View in West Boldon, has lived an extraordinary life.

Now in his 95th year, the ex-boxer still pumps iron twice a week.

As a Merchant Navy seaman in 1941 and 1942, Mr Cristobel was a member of the famous Russian Convoys.

Working in the engine room he risked life and limb to help supply Russian allies with vital supplies at the height of the war.

In the seven decades since, Mr Campos had not received recognition from the British Government for his valiant efforts.

That changed in June of this year when the surviving borough convoy veterans were bestowed the Arctic Star at a ceremony in South Shields Town Hall.

But at the time, Mr Campos’s medal was “delayed in the post”.

Thankfully, it finally arrived last week – and he couldn’t be prouder.

He said: “At the time of the convoys I didn’t think too much about it. I just got on with the job. But all these years later it is good to know that I did something to help our allies. The medal is a good thing for me.”

Father-of-two Mr Campos was born in Southern Spain in 1919 and fought against Francisco Franco’s fascists in the 1930s civil war. After the fall of the Second Spanish Republic he fled to Sierra Leone and in 1941 he joined a crew on a coal barge that was headed to North Shields before joining the British Merchant Navy to help fight against the Nazis.