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War hero from Arkley, High Barnet, receives posthumous Arctic Star for service to Royal Navy during Second World War
The family of a Barnet war hero who received a posthumous medal recognising his service in the Royal Navy say it is “what he deserves”.
Walter Flitney, known as Wally to friends and family, served on numerous battleships and saw fierce action during two stints in the forces between 1939 and 1947, and 1952 and 1954.
Aged just 15 when he signed up, he was present at the sinking of the German battleship the Bismarck and was deployed in Nagasaki soon after the second atomic bomb was dropped.
The former electrician, of Hill Close, Arkley, died in 2005 from a heart attack during a Remembrance service in Borehamwood.
He was among the “forgotten fleet” that toured the Pacific defending trade routes from Nazi war ships and submarines.
Just two years ago, the Ministry of Defence decided to award the specially commissioned Arctic Star to the servicemen, who missed the post-war homecoming parades afforded to the Army as most were still on tour.
The honours were initially sent out to surviving veterans but, thanks to a letter from Walter’s wife Dorothy, the military agreed to send the medals to families of servicemen who had since passed away.
The 77-year-old received her late husband’s medal on Friday and says she is proud to remember the man who went through so much for King and country.
She said: “They went through hell, these men, and they all deserve this. I did wonder why they hadn’t done this earlier. For all of those men who fought and are fighting today, it is important they have something to say ‘I was there – I did that’.”
Walter, whose first wife died from a brain haemorrhage at the age of 42, met Dorothy in 1978 and the pair were married a year later.
She said the latest medal, which is added to his large collection of military honours, is important for the nine grandchildren and seven great grandchildren Walter has left behind.
She said: “I’m proud to have known the man who achieved it, and his grandchildren and whole family are too. He deserves it.”
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