Search

East Ham veteran Allan Florence’s joy at receiving medal

13:04 07 June 2014

Allan Florence, 90, with the Ushakov Medal that he was recently awarded

Allan Florence, 90, with the Ushakov Medal that he was recently awarded

Archant

Nearly 70 years after the end of the Second World War, British sailors who braved German attacks and bitter cold on Arctic convoys have been honoured. Here we tell the stories of two east London heroes.

Allan Florence in uniformAllan Florence in uniform

Allan Florence, 90, from Hatherley Gardens, in East Ham served on board HMS Activity when it played its part in the Arctic Convoys.

Although he can remember very little, due to suffering from Alzheimer’s, Allan’s son James said he was “very excited” at receiving the Ushakov Medal.

He said: “He is very pleased and has been showing it to everyone.”

James remembers his father telling him how he cycled with friends to a recruiting office in Epping to sign up.

James said: “One of the stories he has told us about was when he was on leave at home in East Ham. They were in an air raid shelter when they heard all the roof slates coming off the roof.

“The house was on fire, so he ran upstairs to put it out with a bucket full of earth. It was the bedclothes that were alight. Then the air raid warden joined in and pushed down on everything so hard that it fell through the floor to the dining room and kitchen.

“His mother, my nan, was absolutely fuming because it burnt the carpet downstairs. She was really upset because she was so house-proud.”

Another story Allan told James was about docking in Russia: “He said, when they were let off the ship in Russia, they scrambled up to some fences and looked through them. They saw a noose and then they saw all these rifles pointing towards them, so they scarpered back to the ship and made sure they never went off it again.”

Nick Hewitt, naval historian at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said HMS Activity was an escort carrier which served as a platform for aircraft which tackled German U-boats and submarines. Although the ship only served on the Arctic convoys for a short spell, she did escort one convoy in which her aircraft sank several U-boats.

Latest Newham News Stories

09:00
Olympic triathlon bronze medalist Vicky Holland helping the national campaign #YourGOTRI

Just five days after becoming the first British woman ever to claim an Olympic triathlon medal, one of the Rio stars was in town to try and get more people involved in her sport.

Elizabeth Olympic
Yesterday, 18:34
Students at Lister Community School celebrate their GCSE results

Students across the borough have defied the national trend and shown an improvement in GCSE grades.

Yesterday, 18:10
Stratford will be served by both Central and Jubilee line Night Tube services from October 7 (picture: Nick Ansell/PA)

The next line to benefit from the Night Tube will be the Jubilee, the Mayor of London announced today.

Sadiq Khan
Yesterday, 17:33
Jack Edwards, left, and Luke Sixsmith-Hughes

Three men have been convicted of stealing “lifesaving” firefighters’ equipment worth more than £100,000.

Silvertown

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Read more
Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now