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Veteran gains medal 55 years after RAF duty

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 12, 2013

MEDAL AWARDED: Mr Roberts with Wing-Commander Philip Lamb.

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AN RAF veteran from Bodmin has finally received the medal that has eluded him for more than 55 years.

Kenneth Roberts, 79, reported for National Service between 1956 and 1958 but never received his General Service medal – until last week.

Mr Roberts, formerly Senior Aircraftsman Roberts, received his long overdue medal at a ceremony at RAF St Mawgan, near Newquay, last week and was pleased to have been recognised.

"I had lovely memories of my time in the RAF and this medal gives me something to look back on," Mr Roberts said.

Mr Roberts, of Athelstan Park, Bodmin, was encouraged to apply for the medal by Wing-Commander James Penelhum, also from Bodmin.

After undertaking National Service in January 1956 Mr Roberts completed his eight weeks of 'square bashing' at RAF Padgate in Warrington, before returning to RAF Weeton near Blackpool where he was initially selected.

Mr Roberts then spent several weeks learning his trade of motor transport and, on completion of his training, was stationed at RAF Felixstowe in Suffolk.

On the August Bank Holiday of 1956, while on leave in Cornwall, Mr Roberts received a telegram ordering him to return to base.

He was then sent to Southampton to board the Empire Ken on a ten-day voyage to Malta, before travelling on to Port Said in Egypt several weeks later where the Suez Crisis was developing.

"It was my first time abroad and I ended up going to Egypt which wasn't bad," Mr Roberts said. "I spent a few months in Port Said carrying out motor transport duties and had a wonderful time."

After returning to the UK, Mr Roberts then spent a year at RAF Felixstowe before 'de-mobbing' in January 1958.

"The medal is nothing heroic but I have fond memories of my service and it's something to look back on," he said.

RAF St Mawgan station spokesman, Flight-Lieutenant Jeff Spencer, said servicemen and women of all ages deserve gratitude.

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