War veteran finally honoured 70 years after Arctic duty

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Around 70 years after serving in dangerous missions vital to the Second World War effort, Joseph Lockwood’s bravery has finally been recognised.

The 90-year-old, from Meanwood, Leeds, joined the Royal Navy 72 years ago and became a telegraphist communicating Morse code on destroyer warships that travelled through the Arctic Ocean to deliver supplies to Russia to help them fight Nazi Germany on the Eastern front.

Mr Lockwood finally received his Arctic Star service medal on Thursday, marking his role in a mission which Winston Churchill called “the worst journey in the world”.

But the success in winning the long battle for veterans to be recognised has come too late for many.

Mr Lockwood said: “I think it’s sad. Some of the guys have passed away before they got their medals – I’m 90 and a lot of my comrades could be over 100 now.

“When I was out there it was pretty rough seas, you were rocking about a lot on board the destroyer. It was a hard job because destroyers were not the biggest ships in the navy.”

Mr Lockwood served with the navy until the war’s end in 1945, having taken part in around 20 convoy trips to locations including Malta, Shanghai and Russia.

Vera, his German wife of 58 years, who he met after the war, said: “Joe is a proud man, he still talks about comrades. Despite the hard times it was a happy time for him being in the navy.”