Veteran receives medal 70 years on

Benjamin Hall with his Arctic Star medal. Picture courtesy of courtesy of Andy Teebay/Liverpool Echo
Benjamin Hall with his Arctic Star medal. Picture courtesy of courtesy of Andy Teebay/Liverpool Echo
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Arctic Convoy veteran Benjamin Hall has finally received a medal honouring his wartime service - almost 70 years after the event.

Mr Hall, 91, originally from Knottingley, now lives in Liverpool where he met his wife Eileen when his damaged warship was sent to Merseyside for repair in 1944.

He served on four of the treacherous Arctic convoys in 1944 as an aircraft handler on the escort carriers HMS Tracker and HMS Atheling protecting convoys to the USSR.

Official recognition of the service given by Mr Hall and many others was blocked due to the Cold War between the west and the USSR.

The Soviet Union long wanted to award Arctic Convoy veterans its Ushakov Medal but this was refused, especially by US influence as Russia was then a communist country.

However, following Russian premier Vladimir Putin’s visit to London, the UK government created the Arctic Star last December.

Mr Hall finally received his medal from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar at a special presentation at Liverpool Town Hall last Thursday.

He said: “It was a fantastic day and I feel very proud to get the medal after almost 70 years.

“But it was a day of mixed emotions because it brings back all the memories of the friends we lost during the war. I got half way through my speech at the presentation and had to stop.”