Lancaster war veteran awarded prestigious Arctic Star

John Powell, 92, who has been awarded the Arctic Star Medal for service with the Navy convoy during the Second World War.
John Powell, 92, who has been awarded the Arctic Star Medal for service with the Navy convoy during the Second World War.
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A Lancaster war veteran who survived what Winston Churchill described as “the worst journey in the world” has been awarded the Arctic Star.

John Armer Powell, 92, was visited by Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw in a special presentation for family and friends.

The newly-created award recognises those who took part in the bitter Arctic convoys to Murmansk, Russia during World War Two.

Fewer than 400 veterans are still alive to receive the honour.

Mr Powell, who was born and educated in Lancaster, has previously received medals for his service in the Atlantic convoys, the Malta convoys and the Normandy landings.

Mr Powell volunteered for the navy aged just 19, and his Arctic service took place as a Petty Officer Radio Mechanic on HMS Norfolk in 1943.

While serving in the navy, he met Red Cross nurse Daphne Phillips, whom he married shortly after VE Day in 1945, before sailing on to the Far East.

It was in 1946, after VJ Day and a detour to Vancouver Island, that he was finally demobbed.

Mr Powell then returned to Lancaster, working up to management level at Lansil Ltd until its closure.

Mr Powell was a keen cyclist and fell walker, and served as secretary and president of Lancaster Conservative Club for 20 years, where he is an honorary life member.

He is also a Freeman of the City of Lancaster.

In a personal letter from Navy Command Headquarters, Vice Admiral David Steele, Second Sea Lord, thanked Mr Powell for all he had done in his service of the nation, adding: “I am pleased that your remarkable achievements and bravery, and all those involved in the support of the convoys, have now been recognised.”