A medal for Fred seventy years on

Fred Patfield has been awarded the Arctic Star for his service in the Second World War.
Fred Patfield has been awarded the Arctic Star for his service in the Second World War.
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A Royal Navy veteran who bravely took part in the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War has received a medal to mark his service – 70 years on.

Fred Patfield, now 95, was in the Royal Navy from 1940 to 1946 and served as a Leading Torpedoman on the destroyer, The Beagle.

He received the Arctic Star at his home in Lytham after Prime Minister David Cameron gave the go-ahead for the medals to be produced following a long-running campaign by survivors.

“It’s better late then never,” said Fred, who family applied for the award on his behalf, and who is modest about his brave service in a campaign described by wartime PM Winston Churchill as ‘the worst journey in the world’.

“It is good to receive the medal but it was a long time ago,” added Fred. “At the time, it was a case of just getting out there and doing what needed to be done and not thinking about it.

“I don’t have anywhere in particular in mind to display it. I think it will go in a chest with other mementoes.”

Up to 120,000 veterans – or their next of kin – are believed to be eligible for the Star, whose design mirrors similar WW2 campaign medals, such as the Atlantic Star.

The medal recognises service between 1941 and 1945 delivering vital aid to the Soviet Union, running the gauntlet of enemy submarine, air and surface ship attacks.

The campaign cost the lives of around 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen but it is thought that a certain level of animosity between Churchill and then Soviet leader Josef Stalin was the reason no Arctic stars were awarded immediately after the war.

Fred, who ran his own electrical shop in Blackpool up to retirement, has two daughters, Geraldine, who lives next door to him on South Park and Sue, based in South Wales. He also has two grandsons and two great grandchildren.