But thieves stole veteran Fred Jackson’s precious medals from his Leeds home in 2002, which recognised his bravery in World War Two.
Now, 14 years after they were taken, the medals have been replaced and presented to the 95-year-old during a ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall.
They included the Ushakov Medal which honoured Mr Jackson, who served as Chief Petty Officer for the Royal Navy, for delivering supplies to Russia on two Arctic Convoys.
His son-in-law David Maggs, who contacted police and the Ministry of Defence to get them replaced, said: “If it wasn’t for Fred and others like him doing what they did during the war, we wouldn’t be here today.
“He is a man who deserved more than just campaign medals.
“I have so much pride for what he has done during the war because he went through hell.”
Mr Maggs, from Morley, bought miniature versions of the medals for Mr Jackson, but replicas have now been issued by the Ministry of Defence.
The presentation yesterday was led by Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Gerry Harper, in the Civic Hall’s Ark Royal room - named after a ship that Mr Jackson served on.
Coun Harper said: “It was a real honour to meet Fred and have the chance to return his serving medals to him.
“We owe veterans like Fred so much, and I hope that through the presentation ceremony we were able to show him our gratitude as a city for the bravery and commitment he demonstrated during his time serving our country.”
Mr Jackson joined the Navy in 1939 and his medals include the Atlantic Star, Arctic Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star and Italy Star.
He also served on the HMS Glorious ship which was blown out of the water by German battleships in 1941. More than 800 people were aboard the ship when it sank, and Mr Jackson was among just 38 who survived.
He is now believed to be the only remaining survivor of HMS Glorious.
The veteran also served on HMS Victorious.
Stan McLellan, chairman of the association of HMS Victorious, said: “Fred served in the Second World War, and was on ships which went from the Arctic to the tropics.
“He deserves these medals. Some people now see that war as done and dusted.
“But to many people it isn’t and it had a massive effect on them.”
Mr Jackson’s family also attended the ceremony.
Fred Jackson took part in Allied efforts to deliver supplies to Russia after it was invaded by Germany in June 1941, known as the Arctic Convoys.
The dangerous route passed through a narrow funnel between the Arctic ice pack and German bases in Norway, which meant many of the convoys came under attack. More than four million tons of supplies were delivered to the Russian and 3,000 men died during the campaign.