A Peterborough centenarian who put his life on the line fighting for the freedom we enjoy today, has become one of the first Second World War veteran in the country to be given a special medal from Norway.
George Hockney, who was born in Peterborough in 1919, was an engineer on HMS Auckland during the Allied capture of Narvik, Norway, which was the first Allied sea, air and land campaign of the war.
Yesterday George, who lives at the Park House Nursing Home in Park Crescent, Peterborough received the Norwegian Commemorative Medal in honour of the role he and the rest of the crew played.
The proud 100-year-old said it was an honour to be presented with the medal on behalf of the rest of the crew who took part in the mission.
George, who earned a number of other medals including the British Empire Medal, 3945 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Palestine Medal, Malta Medal, War Medal and Defence Medal during a distinguished career, said: “I vividly remember my days in the Royal Navy and was very surprised to hear that the Norwegian Embassy wanted to meet me.
“I feel very proud to receive the medal on behalf of all my comrades; it’s an honour and a privilege.”
The presentation was made by Defence Attaché Colonel John Andreas Olsen from the Norwegian Embassy as the 80th anniversary of the campaign approaches.
Mungwaluku Mupatu, manager of the Healthcare Homes run home, said: “He thoroughly deserves all the recognition he has received for what he did in the Royal Navy all those years ago. He is very happy to today accept the medal on behalf of all those that played a role in this monumental campaign.”
The Norway Campaign was from April 8 to June 8 1940; Britain and its allies became involved in the first Allied sea, air and land campaign of World War II in Norway. On May 28 1940, the port of Narvik fell into Allied hands, which was the first Allied land victory in the Second World War. In early June, however, the remaining Allied servicemen in Norway were evacuated on account of the rapid German advance in France.
Historian and lecturer Tim Kundu has been campaigning for better recognition of Britain’s role in the Norway Campaign. He said: “I felt that the servicemen should be honoured, so took it upon myself to find veterans who had been involved. I feel privileged to have traced and met Mr Hockney – I have had such a wonderful time interviewing him about his experiences. His memories are so fresh and vivid and I’ve learnt so much more about the Norwegian Campaign as a result. He’s a very modest, polite gentleman and is a real hero to me. Congratulations to George on receiving the well-deserved medal and recognition.”