Swindon war veteran dies just months after medal honour
A WAR veteran who served in the Second World War has died just months after receiving a medal for his service.
Basil Brown was presented with the Arctic Star medal in May but lost his battle with cancer on Thursday, August 8.
Basil, 90, signed up to the Royal Navy at the age of 18 and served as a wireless operator on HMS Impulsive on the Arctic Convoys, and later during the D-Day landings and in the Pacific.
Basil moved into White Lodge Nursing home, Braydon, earlier this year after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, but was said to be very proud to receive his medal.
The award was added to his many other medals, which included the War Service Medal 1939-45, the 1945 Victory Medal and a Russian medal given in 1965 on the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
He died with Joice, his wife of 63 years, by his side and has been described as a special uncle and great uncle to his many nieces and nephews.
Basil experienced a challenging role in his duties as a radio operator whilst serving on the Arctic convoys.
Following the war, he spent a long and successful career with British Rail which spanned 31 years.
His niece, Liz Barry, 56, of West Swindon, said the family was extremely proud of his achievements when he received his medal.
She said: “He signed up at the age of 18 because at the time there was compulsory national service.
“Basil has told us about the voyages and said how they used to all pick away at the ice through the night so that the ships would not over-turn.
“It has taken so long for them to get the recognition they deserve – Basil received a medal from the Russians, but now only around 90 veterans are around to receive their medals.
“Basil said he was not too bothered about receiving the medal, but when he got it he was just so pleased and we are so proud of him as a family.”
Veterans have campaigned for nearly 70 years to get recognition for the thousands who sailed in the Arctic Convoys as part of the war. The medals began to be awarded for the first time this year and are given in recognition of the dangerous maritime missions undertaken to keep supplies flowing to the Soviet Union.
It was a journey Sir Winston Churchill described as the “worst on earth” and nearly 3,000 people lost their lives.
The Government announced in December that it planned to officially honour Arctic Convoy veterans with the newly created award.
Basil’s family have also thanked Dr Simon Manchip and Michele Curr of the Victoria Centre, Catherine Kirwan, his main carer at home, and Veronica and the staff at the White House Lodge who did so much to ease his last few weeks. They also wanted to thank the team at Prospect and Dr Gould and Dr Farkhani of Cornerstone Practice.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday, August 22, at Kingsdown Crematorium at 2.15pm. Family flowers only, however donations would be appreciated for Aid of the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum.
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