Veteran posthumously awarded the Arctic Star

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A WAR veteran who took part in the treacherous Arctic convoys in the Second World War has been awarded the Arctic Star medal just months after he died.

Peter Clifton, who lived in Welton Rise, St Leonards, served on the SS Samloyal while in the Royal Navy in August 1944.

Almost 70 years on he has been recognised for his role in the dangerous missions, which ran from 1941 to 1945.

His son Stephen said his late father’s medal arrived last Thursday (July 11).

He said: “It was very poignant as Dad died in January this year after suffering a heart attack.

“My brother Nick instigated the whole process so Dad could be awarded the medal and obtained official documentation to prove that he was in the convoys.

Various research by the Clifton family unearthed Peter’s discharge papers when he left the Navy, other ships he served on, as well as information on the SS Samloyal.

Stephen said: “It was quite a dangerous mission Dad was on, as the convoys delivered supplies to the Russians to help them against the Nazis. Everything froze quickly and seaman were not allowed on deck because it was so cold. It’s only come to light in recent years what they did during the Arctic convoys.

“We are justifiably proud of him and his role during the war. It’s a bittersweet moment as he passed away only a few months ago.”

The Arctic convoys sailed from the UK, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union, mainly Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk in Russia.

In total there were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945, sailing via several seas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

About 1,400 merchant ships delivered vital supplies to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and the US Navy.

The Arctic route was the shortest and most direct route for aid to the USSR, but also the most dangerous.

Around 3,964,000 tons of goods were shipped by the Arctic route, with seven per cent lost.

Peter was born in Battle and moved to Marley Lane, where he lived until 1938.

He joined the Royal Navy when he was 18. He met his future wife Eileen during the war and they tied the knot in 1945. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2010.

Earlier this month fellow veteran Tony Birmingham was awarded the Arctic Star after almost 70 years.