Search

I’m alive! Arctic convoy veteran from Romford honoured year late because MoD thought he was dead

09:22 07 March 2014

Lesley Claydon with his Arctic Star medal

Lesley Claydon with his Arctic Star medal

Archant

A survivor of the highly-dangerous Second World War Arctic convoy missions has finally been honoured nearly a year after some other veterans because the government mistakenly believed he was dead.

Havering Mayor Cllr Eric Munday presents the Arctic Star medal to Mr ClaydonHavering Mayor Cllr Eric Munday presents the Arctic Star medal to Mr Claydon

Not only did Leslie Claydon, 95, survive attacks from Nazi forces, he managed to outlive the administrative error by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which had classed him deceased, and saw his medal presentation 11 months after it was first awarded to others.

Mr Claydon received the coveted Arctic Star for his services in the freezing Arctic Circle in a ceremony at Abbcross Nursing Home, in Brentwood Road, Romford, on Tuesday.

Tragically, his son Ian Claydon, who had tried to apply for the medal on ­behalf of his frail father, died ­before the belated hand-over by Havering Mayor Cllr Eric Munday.

Mr Claydon’s daughter Dr Gillian Harris, of Hockley, Essex, took over the medal-seeking duty after her brother, of Harold Wood, passed away suddenly in December 2012, aged 67.

Mr Claydon with Cllr Munday and members of the Royal British LegionMr Claydon with Cllr Munday and members of the Royal British Legion

She says she filled in the application form “clearly leaving the date of death area blank” and sent ­repeated emails to the MoD but got no ­response.

“I emailed them,” she said. “I wrote to them, and eventually they said we have dealt with all the people [due a medal] who are alive, we are now looking at the relatives of dead service personal.”

Dr Harris was concerned that due to her father’s age, time was of the essence.

“They all thought he was dead,” she said, “but he wasn’t, so I said you need to prioritise him first. Because my father is partially-sighted I used my contact details so they must have presumed I was applying for my late father.”

Mr Claydon, who on the minesweeper the HMS Speedwell, said: “Thank you very much. I’m very proud.”

The MoD were contacted but did not respond.

0 comments

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 22:29
A portrait of Hayley Anderson (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Gemma Collins has walked out of the I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! jungle - Hayley Anderson asks - are we surprised?

Yesterday, 15:00
Musk turtles sold by Tisburys Aquatic Centre

They inspire terror in wayward ducklings, are a menace for anglers and can live for decades. What’s more they’ve made Havering home.

Yesterday, 12:00
Performing arts teacher Elaine Spires, at the Stages Studio, The Mercury, Mercury Gardens, Romford,

She’s an author, a screen writer, an actress, a performing arts teacher, a playwright and now the director of this year’s pantomime at the Brookside Theatre in Romford.

Fri, 18:28
Do you recognise this man?

This man is wanted for questioning by police in connection with two robberies in Romford town centre.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition

Protesters have been warned they are banned from setting up camp at the landmark.

John Cantlie features in the new IS video, in which he talks about a recent failed military attack.

From Britain First’s Facebook posts, you would assume they’d won the Rochester by-election. They didn’t, but they’re claiming it anyway.

At 100 years old, this was Ruby Holt’s first visit to the beach – and the first time she saw the ocean.