Bravery of young man finally recognised with Arctic Star

Muriel Hutchinson from Haddenham, whose late husband John, pictured below, was posthumously awarded the Arctic Star

Muriel Hutchinson from Haddenham, whose late husband John, pictured below, was posthumously awarded the Arctic Star

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The bravery of a man who endured ‘the worst journey in the world’ according to Winston Churchill has finally been recognised.

John Hutchinson, who served as an engineer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, was one of many servicemen who underwent the treacherous Arctic Circle run to take supplies and personnel to Russia.

The late John Hutchinson from Haddenham,  who was posthumously awarded the Artic Star - pictured here in the RAF

The late John Hutchinson from Haddenham, who was posthumously awarded the Artic Star - pictured here in the RAF

But the subsequent Cold War made it politically difficult to give survivors a medal for assisting the Soviet Union, who had been allies during the Second World War.

Finally, nearly 70 years after the end of the war the servicemen are being recognised. But because so few of them are still alive, in the majority of cases it is their widows and children who have received the retrospective award.

Muriel Hutchinson, who lives in Church Way, Haddenham, received the Artic Star on behalf of her late husband John.

She said: “It has been a very proud and emotional time. My son is going to look for a way to frame it so we can put it on display rather than put it in a drawer.”

Mrs Hutchinson became aware of the decision to award the Arctic Star to veterans of the Artic Circle run when she read an article by Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Emma Soames in the Saga Magazine.

She said: “It jumped out at me nine months ago and I set to straight away and got the application form.”

Mr Hutchinson trained as an engineer at RAF Halton and qualified at the age of 19.

His Arctic Circle journey to Murmansk in Russia took nine months and was horrendous and extremely cold.

He spent a year instructing the Russians on aircraft maintenance.

 

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