LIVERPOOL Town Hall has
flown its flag at half mast to remember a Merseyside war hero who took
part in the treacherous Arctic convoys in the 2nd World War.
Knotty Ash naval veteran Benjamin Hall , 92, passed away on Sunday.
It took almost 70 years for Mr Hall's role in the missions to be
recognised and he was belatedly awarded an Arctic Star medal
honouring his wartime service in July 2013.
Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Gary Millar, who requested the
flag fly at half-mast said:- "As we mark 100 years since the
start of the First World War, 70 since the D-Day landings and 71
years since the turning point of the Battle of Atlantic I was deeply
shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Arctic Star Veteran
I met Ben and his wonderful family last summer when I presented him
with his long overdue Arctic Star medal.
Liverpool and the UK owes this Knotty Ash hero an enormous debt of
gratitude and the least I can do as Lord Mayor is fly our Town Hall
flag at half mast.
RIP Ben and my sincere condolences to the Hall family."
For decades official recognition of the service given by Mr Hall and
many others was blocked due to the Cold War between the West and the
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 and was
urged to act quickly because of the advancing age and ill health of
Mr Hall's medal was not ready in time for the Battle of the Atlantic
70th anniversary event in Liverpool, so Knotty Ash City Councillor
Hayley Todd requested that a special presentation should be made at
the Town Hall, with the Royal Navy represented by Lt Pat
O'Callaghan, from the Northern Regional HQ, Sefton Street.
At the time of receiving the award Mr Hall said:- "It's a
great honour to receive the medal after nearly 70 years and I am one
of the very lucky ones. I'm happy but sad as you remember the
many friends who you lost, who never came back home and I've had a
wonderful life with my wife and 4 daughters. I don't know if
there is anyone else on Merseyside who will receive the medal, but
everyone who served on the Arctic Convoys deserves it. It was
a very difficult time, we sailed between Scapa Flow, in northern
Scotland and Kola Inlet, in Russia. Temperatures were 40 below
zero, you never took your gloves off and you slept in your clothes.
Once I literally got stuck to the deck and had to be prised off by
other crew. The escort carriers were top heavy and pitched and
rolled dreadfully and there were always U-boats lurking about. We
were torpedoed once, but luckily it missed us."
Highly Commended for Skilled Artwork
RANGE Highs School's own
Kristy Vidamour has had her work selected for a special exhibition
at the Walker Art gallery. The exhibition, organised by
aims to showcase the artistic talent of students, featuring
artwork from around 50 local schools, on Merseyside.
the opening, Kristy's work was recognised as
being an exceptional piece by the organisers and as a result a:-
Commendation' prize was awarded to the talented young artist.
Kristy received her award from the Mayor of Liverpool, she was given
a selection of vouchers for art materials for her efforts and paused
for photographs with photographers from:- 'Educate Magazine.'
Kristy was thrilled with the evening. Now the exhibition is open to
the public until the 8 June 2014.
Her art teacher, Mr Banks, said:-
"I am incredibly proud to
have a students work feature in a gallery as renowned as the Walker.
For Kristy this sort of platform and the chance to exhibit her
work to the public is the real prize, the special award was a
beautiful gesture and made it a night none of us will ever forget."
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