Arctic Star for Alan’s service in the Navy

Merchant Navy veteran Alan Davies with his medals which include the Arctic Star.
Merchant Navy veteran Alan Davies with his medals which include the Arctic Star.

A Whittingham man has been given an Arctic Star medal for his service in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

Alan Davies, 92, served on the oil tanker British Corporal, which was part of convoy PQ14, from Reykjavik to Murmansk in April, 1942.

He has received the medal for his service north of the Arctic Circle.

During the Second World War, Mr Davies also served on other BP oil tankers that took

part in various convoys across the Atlantic.

At the time of convoy PQ14, Alan was 3rd Officer on the BP tanker British Corporal.

He subsequently went on to become Commodore of the BP oil tanker fleet.

He spent his entire working life of more than 40 years serving with the BP Tanker Company Ltd.

The last ship he commanded as Commodore was the supertanker British Respect, which took part, and was the largest vessel, in the Review of the Fleet that was held at Spithead on June 28, 1977, to commemorate the silver Jubilee of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Alan was born in Forest Hall in the early part of 1922 and his early life was spent in the Newcastle/Durham area.

On leaving school, he was apprenticed to the British Tanker Company, going to sea in the latter part of 1938.

He continued in the employment of BP on their vessels until he retired in 1978.

Daughter Alison said: “In 1939, war was declared and Dad became one of the many embroiled in the Russian convoys, initially as apprentice and later his young officer days.

“Understandably, it is not a time he recalls with any fondness and is reluctant to speak much on that subject, a matter that the family has respected.

“This, of course, was why he was recently awarded the Arctic Star, to add to the other campaign medals from that period.

“Additionally to those medals, he was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal when his vessel was invited to the Spithead Review of The Fleet, being the biggest vessel there.

“Incidentally, Dad’s name can still be found on the plans of the various reviews on board Royal Yacht Britannia.”

Alan was married to Joyce for nearly 40 years before she passed away in 1995.

The couple had two sons and a daughter and the family settled on Whittingham as their home in 1961.

Alan is also grandfather to seven and great grandfather to two.

Following retirement in 1978, Alan became an integral part of St Bartholemew’s Church in Whittingham, as church warden, licensed lay preacher and chief clock winder.