Holbrook: War hero George is finally decorated - after a 64-year wait

George Edwin Williams

George Edwin Williams - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A war-time hero received his medals for bravery yesterday – after a 64-year wait.

George Edwin Williams, 91, a former chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, was surprised by his son Stephen at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, near Ipswich.

His son, a solicitor from East Bergholt, had heard many Second World War naval stories from his father over the years, including his service in a minesweeper at the D-Day landings.

After some research he discovered his father’s bravery should have resulted in some distinguished medals.

His research confirmed that six medals were issued on July 12, 1950 and sent to an address in East Ham, London, but they never arrived.


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Stephen said: “As a kid we heard some stories about his wartime experiences. It’s a kind of closure. It’s nice to honour people of that era. No matter how small their stature they were giants among men. How many of us could imagine doing it now?”

Mr Williams was awarded his medals by captain Warren Bairstow CSC RAN, naval advisor to the Australian High Commission, following a whole-school ceremonial Founders Day division parade and chapel service.

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He was given the 1939-1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Pacific Star, the France and Germany Clasp, the War Medal 1939/45 and the Defence Medal.

The well travelled hero took his tests at HMS Ganges in Shotley before going to Chatham. He then spent 17 months on the HMS Selkirk, before returning to Chatham and then heading to Canada, Australia and Sri Lanka.

He was also on the aircraft carrier HMS Vengeance.

Mr Williams said: “It’s fantastic. I felt very proud. I will be telling more stories.”

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