THAME: Medal at last for hero Jack

War veteran Jack Kirtland with his Arctic Star medal
War veteran Jack Kirtland with his Arctic Star medal

A wartime sailor whose ship was hit by a torpedo killing many people on board has finally received the Russian Arctic Star medal for his bravery.

Jack Kirtland, from Rooks Road, was steering HMS Mounsey in November 1944 as part of his duties in the Navy as a boatswain’s mate when it was hit by a torpedo.

The torpedo hit the ship’s water tanks which exploded, and the huge force threw Mr Kirtland across the deck.

Several of his fellow crew members died of suffocation as the ship’s internal doors closed in the horrifying attack.

One of Jack’s granddaughters Vikki Crane said: “The ship got hit in Russian waters near Murmansk.

“He had a very lucky escape because he got away without suffering any serious injury.

“He does talk about it but he only remembers bits of what happened.”

Jack, who will be 90 later this month has three children, eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

A tea party to celebrate his upcoming birthday is being held at Thame Snooker Club on Sunday August 17 starting at 4pm.

Anyone who knows Jack or was a fellow war veteran is invited for a drink and a bite to eat.

If you are interested in attending e-mail