Arctic Star for convoy veteran

Evesham Journal: SERVICE: Jim Prince has been given the Arctic Star Medal. Picture by Paul Jackson. 5113480201 SERVICE: Jim Prince has been given the Arctic Star Medal. Picture by Paul Jackson. 5113480201

A WAR veteran who blasted up to 10 inches of ice off his ship to prevent it from overturning during the infamous Arctic convoys has been honoured with the Arctic Star medal.

Jim Prince, who is now aged 93 and lives in Elizabeth Road, Evesham, was delighted to receive the medal, awarded to veterans of the convoys in recognition of the severe and difficult conditions they endured.

His daughter Pauline Laight applied for the medal after reading about other veterans receiving the honour.

She said: “Having seen several articles I decided it would be nice to apply for his Arctic Medal. He joined the navy when he was 16 as an able seaman and went to Ipswich Training School, after 12 months he joined HMS Warspite training ship. In 1938 he transferred to cruiser HMS Amphibion and went to South Africa, he was there when war broke out.”

Mr Prince travelled around the world over the following years, searching for German warships escorting the larger destroyers such as HMS Ark Royal, joining HMS Somali based in the Scapa Flow in Scotland and escorting ships from America bringing ammunition and food across the Arctic Ocean to Murmansk in Russia.

Mrs Laight said: “He was in convoys through the Norwegian Fjords escorting ammunition ships from America.

“Conditions here were extremely cold and had to wear special clothing to combat severe cold and ice.

“He recalls ice being up to eight to 10 inches thick on hand tails and masts.

“They would have to steam jet the deck and hand rails to melt the ice otherwise the ship would list and be in danger of overturning if the ice got too thick.

“I feel very proud of Dad’s achievement during the war and thought it would be nice for him to receive his medal after all this time. He had a look of pleasure and disbelief when I gave him his medal. He is an incredible man at the age of 93 and I am very proud of him.”

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