An 89-year-old war veteran who lost five Second World War medals in a callous burglary now has replacements ... even though he has had to pay the MoD for them yet had a Russian one sent for free.
Huddersfield Royal Naval Society member Geoff Mellor, of Almondbury, had only managed to receive one of them, a valuable Arctic Star, 68 years after his 19th birthday which was spent on the notorious Artic convoys.
The medals were created for veterans who risked their lives in protecting shipping convoys north of the Arctic Circle throughout the Second World War.
Others taken included a 1939/45 medal, the Burma Star and a Russian one which was presented to him by the Russian Embassy more than 20 years ago.
Geoff , a torpedoman, was called up on April 27, 1944 and demobbed in May 1946.
Geoff was particularly delighted to get the replacements as he disliked turning up to veteran functions “bare-chested”.
He said: “After the burglary I contacted Steve Quarmby of Golcar British Legion and he completed all the necessary paperwork for me.
“The Russians provided a replacement for free and with a letter signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, but I had to pay £85 to the MOD including a £39 administration fee which I found unbelievable.
“Obviously having replacements is not the same as having originals but they are better than nothing.
“I didn’t care for going to functions and having nothing to wear on my chest!
“The Artic Star is quite valuable as there are less than 200 of us left who were on the convoys.”
The convoys he was sailing with faced attack from German U-boats and Geoff remembers how three British ships were sunk, including HMS Lapwing.
Geoff, a father-of-two, said the only one he had not managed to replace was a European one which was of low monetary value.
One sadness remains though.
A linen sheet with his joining up details printed on it was also taken in the raid and which he is unlikely to ever see again.