FOR 94-year-old Doris Blake it was an ‘absolute honour’ to receive her late husband’s prestigious Arctic Star medal.
After waiting 71 years the proud widow said the day it came was a very special one and her only wish is that her husband Charles Blake was alive to see this day.
The Arctic Star decorates service men who took part in the convoys delivering military supplies to Russia in one of the most dangerous missions of the Second World War.
The Navyman, who retired as a Chief Engine Artificer sailor, spent three years on board the Russian convoy from 1940-1943.
During this time his wife Doris didn’t get to see him at all and spent the whole time wondering if he was alive. She said: “Charles proposed to me when I was really ill in hospital with meningitis because he thought he would lose me.
“We got married but he went a month later and then I didn’t hear from him for three years.”
Charles came home in 1943 and gave Doris the surprise of her life when he walked into her office, where she worked as a typist.
She said: “It was one of the greatest moments of my life when I saw him and knew he had returned – it was so emotional.”
After that Charles joined the Civil Service and he and Doris started a family with her daughter Marilyn, son Colin, Suzanne, David and Kevin.
Sadly Charles died aged 67 of bowl cancer and Doris moved to a retirement home in Ringwood.
For his 22 years service Charles was decorated with five medals – the 1939-1945 Arctic Star, the Atlantic Star, the 1939-1945 War Medal with oak leaf, 1945-1948 NGS Palestine Medal and a Good Conduct for Long Service medal.
Charles was mentioned in Dis-patches for his ‘gallant service, endurance and devotion to duty’ on convoy escort to North Russia.