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 News Stories

31 minutes ago
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is coming to the Olympic Park today. Picture: EMPICS Sport/PA Images

The world’s top wheelchair tennis players will kick off a five day tournament at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre today.

UN Court
Yesterday, 17:13
Chris Facey was presented with the trophy by Princess Anne Picture: Jeff Holmes

A basketball coach who works with a charity steering young people away from crime has been crowned the best in the country.

Newham All Star Sports Academy
Yesterday, 17:05
Michelle has been feeding and looking after the abandoned cats but now she has got to find them homes (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Seven young cats, seemingly abandoned by their owner, are in need of rehoming.

Yesterday, 16:36
Reebok International has announced a partnership with Fight for Peace

Global brand Reebok International has announced a partnership with a project that uses martial arts and boxing to steer young people away from crime and violence.

United Kingdom

Most read news

Eddie said that despite being sexually attracted to children, he’s never committed a crime and that there’s many more like him.

PM speaks out after Lee Rigby report is made public calling one internet firm a ‘safe haven’.

Social network named in media reports as the platform used by extremists and criticised in government report.

The security services were not in a position to stop the attack on Lee Rigby, but an internet firm might have been able to help foil the plot.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition