Arctic honour for veteran’s family

PUBLISHED: 10:10 07 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:10 07 March 2013

Ron Pettitt DSM

Ron Pettitt DSM

Archant

The son of a Brixington war hero who died in 2009 will be eligible to collect an honour on behalf of his father 68 years after the end of World War Two.

Ron Pettitt DSM, formerly of Partridge Road, died aged 90 after spending decades campaigning to ensure that those who served on the Arctic Convoys were acknowledged.

Now the Government has decided to recognise the crews of the Arctic convoys and Bomber Command.

The families of those who have died will also be able to apply for the new awards - up to a quarter of a million veterans and families could be eligible, including Ron’s son Stephen.

Production of both the new Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command clasp will start this week and living veterans and widows will be the first in line to receive the new awards from as early as March.

It follows decades of campaigning by Ron, up until his death.

Ron, who earned the Distinguished Service Medal, was a favourite with the Russians having travelled there many times.

He was even invited to St Petersburg for a festival celebrating the 65th anniversary of the first ship convoy to reach Russia during the World War Two.

The former petty officer, in charge of firing and communications on HMS Duke of York, took his first trip to modern Russia in 2002 with the Russian Convoy Club (RCC), and he had been back every year after that.

As part of the crew of the Duke of York, Mr Pettitt was one of a team who helped sink the pocket battleship Scharnhorst when the Duke of York encountered the Russian convoys in 1943.

Hugo Swire, MP for East Devon, has welcomed the Government’s announcement and said: “This is a fantastic announcement which will truly recognise the bravery displayed by those who fought for our freedom in World War Two.

“I would encourage all eligible veterans and next of kin in East Devon to apply for the new awards.”

Stephen said: “He was a perfect dad, always there when you needed him and he was very sociable and enormously proud of his DSM.”

Minister for personnel, welfare and veterans Mark Francois said: “All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us.

“I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved one’s bravery.”

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