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Comrades in tribute to Arctic convoys veteran

Arctic convoy hero Jeffery Masters has finally been honoured for his part in the dangerous wartime naval operations after he died before he could be formally recognised.
Four other Dartmouth veterans of the Second World War convoys were presented with their Arctic convoy medals by Prince Andrew at a Britannia Royal Naval College passing out parade in May this year.
But Mr Masters missed out because at that time he had still not received his medal which was only struck and issued to the Arctic heroes this year.
He was finally sent his medal in September this year and his family were trying to arrange a presentation ceremony at the naval college for him when he died.
Last week Mr Masters’ daughter Claire Oakley met up with the other veterans to pay tribute to her dad who was just 17 when he joined the Royal Navy in May 1943.
She was joined by Cdr Tommy Handley, Lt (A) Freddy Harsant and Able Seaman Syd Thompson who all took part in the death defying convoys which took on U-boats, German bombers and the extreme Arctic weather conditions to get supplies through to the beleaguered Russian armies.
Mrs Masters was living with his daughter Claire at her home in Seymour Drive, when he died aged 87 – just a fortnight after he finally received his Arctic Star medal.
After joining up in 1943, he served in a number of ships – including HMS Oxslip, a Flower Class corvette from October 1943 until June 1945.
Claire said: ‘He never spoke too much about his navy days but the little that he did say all sounded pretty horrific.
‘I am very pleased that he saw his Arctic Star medal before he died. I have lived in Dartmouth for 30 years and was very proud of my dad and it was a pleasure to look after him over the last few years even though I have cancer as well.’
Some 3,000 servicemen died taking part in the convoys while braving air and submarine attack as well as appalling sub-zero weather conditions.

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