Don't miss a story sign up to Exmouth Journal's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Tears of joy of Arctic Star hero widow

09:44 10 February 2014

The Arctic Star medal awarded to Joy Kendrick

The Arctic Star medal awarded to Joy Kendrick's late husband John. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 1954-06-14SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk

Archant

The widow of a Royal Navy hero has become one of the first to receive a new medal honouring her husband’s wartime heroics.

Brixington’s Joyce Kendrick, 87, finally received The Arctic Star last week, to mark the wartime contribution of her husband John Edward Kendrick.

John, who died two years ago, had fought for 67 years for his role in the Arctic Convoys to Russia during World War Two to be recognised.

Joyce, from Warneford Gardens, said: “When I received the medal, the tears were flowing.

“I am so proud of him.”

John Kendrick, DSM, MID, served on at least seven different vessels between 1939 and 1945 – three of which were torpedoed and sunk.

Their mission was to provide cover for convoys sailing to Murmansk in Russia using ancient World War One technology – convoys laden with food and supplies.

However, it was on the SS Empire Lawrence, a Defence Equipped Merchant ship, that he experienced the full horrors of Arctic Convoy duty.

The convoy comprised 36 ships and left Iceland on May 21, 1942.

In 2007 John told the Journal: “The pack ice was forcing us nearer to the Norwegian coast, and the convoy came in range for the Germans to press home more attacks.

“When the Germans arrived they were met with such a heavy barrage it prevented them from coming in too low.”

Although other vessels were hit, it was obvious that the SS Empire Lawrence was the main target.

“Our merchant seamen helpers were magnificent loading the guns and, as the bombs exploded under our stern, the ship shuddered.”

Then one German pilot dropped a bomb near the bridge - with devastating consequences.

“When it happened the stern rose and, as the captain sounded ‘abandon ship’, we made our way to the lifeboats.”

But, as John was attempting to lower the lifeboat from the sinking ship, the bombers returned and strafed the ship from bow to stern – the stern exploded and broke off from the midships.

But it happened so quickly, John didn’t realise he was standing on the fall rope: “It had wrapped round my ankle and pulled me into the water at a terrific rate.”

But, because John had been underwater, he hadn’t realised the Germans had returned - and had mercilessly machine-gunned the survivors crying for help in thefreezing waters.

John then shot to the surface like a cork, and found himself clinging onto a box:

“While I was floating my hands were becoming colder and colder, and I realised I couldn’t hold on much longer.”

He lost consciousness, and by some miracle found himself on board the HMS Hyderabad- she had returned to pick up any survivors.

“It was a courageous decision to return,” said John. “They put themselves at risk.

“Now I think of all the men who perished without historic recognition.”

Joyce said: “When I realised what it was like for him, it just broke my heart.

“Crew stripped him naked and put him on the deck to thaw him out so he didn’t get frostbite.”

She admits that it took so long for the medal to come through she feared she would not get to see it: “I told them that it would be posthumous to me before too long.

“He died before he even knew they were going to get the medal.

“I’m just glad I have lived to see it.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:30
Budleigh In Bloom celebrating winning gold at the 2015 Britain In Bloom South West competition. Ref exb 0545-40-15AW

People are being invited to attend Budleigh in Bloom’s AGM on Friday, February 12.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:11

A judge has shown mercy on a businessman who sold a stun gun to a friend from Exmouth in a pub without realising he was doing anything wrong.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30

Detectives are investigating a burglary when cash and medication was stolen.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:04
Dr Dennis Whitmore, who was evacuted to Budeligh Salterton in 1940

A tribute has been paid to a man whose evacuation to Budleigh Salterton in World War Two sparked a life-long love for the town

Read more
Yesterday, 09:14

Fire crews were called out to reports of a dangerous structure in Budleigh Salterton on Wednesday, February 10.

Read more
Yesterday, 06:30
The Owen Building at Rolle College

People are being offered the chance to help secure the reopening of an Exmouth community asset left empty and unused for close to a decade.

Read more
Wed, 18:30
Pretty Muddy charity event.

East Devon women are being urged to get the new year off to a great start by signing up to Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 2016.

Read more
Wed, 12:30
All Saints Church in East Budleigh Ref exb 5424-03-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

EAST BUDLEIGH: More than £600 has been raised by All Saints Church over the past 12 months for a voluntary adoption agency.

Read more
Wed, 12:30
Rider John Bramble.

A man from Dorset is again riding from Weymouth to Exmouth Queen’s Drive in April in memory of his much-loved son.

Read more
Wed, 11:14

Police are appealing for information after a burglar struck at an Exmouth house.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Competitions
Photo Orders
Family notices
iwitness24
Google Plus
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications