WW2 sailor receives medals after 60 years

More than 60 years after his young son lost them, sailor Tommy Watson was finally reunited with the medals he earned for his service in World War 2.

Now 94, the former able seaman from Hexham saw service in the Atlantic and Far East theatres of war between 1943 and 1945 – service which was recognised at the war’s end with the Atlantic, Burma and Pacific Stars, plus the 1939-45 War Medal.

Tommy joined the RN in 1943 as an 18-year-old, serving in HM Ships Quebec and Nubian, notably on convoy duties.

Efforts by the family to replace the missing decorations – Tommy regularly gave them to his son to play with… until one day they vanished – down the years drew a blank.

Sailors from Gateshead Royal Naval Reserve unit joined veterans groups in forming a guard of honour for Tommy as he received the replicas from Calliope’s Commanding Officer

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Thanks to the intervention of Martin Foster, who co-ordinates activities for residents at Red Brick House care home in Prudhoe, where Tommy now lives, the medals were not only replaced… but presented in style to the nonagenarian.

Sailors from Gateshead Royal Naval Reserve unit joined veterans groups in forming a guard of honour for Tommy as he received the replicas from Calliope’s Commanding Officer Cdr Graeme Deighton, watched by his relatives, fellow care home residents, the mayors of Prudhoe and Gateshead and local councillors. And the local TV news cameras.

All of which left the veteran a little stunned, but his family said he was delighted by the turn-out and especially the reservists who gave a little of their free time to support the veteran.