Diss man ‘honoured’ to receive father’s posthumous war medal

Billie Stannard, with the Arctic Star Medal awarded to his late father, T.E Stannard for his service.
Billie Stannard, with the Arctic Star Medal awarded to his late father, T.E Stannard for his service.

A retired Royal Navy serviceman living in Diss stated he is a “very proud man” after receiving a medal on behalf of his father, who served a significant role in the Second World War.

Billie Stannard, 74, of Bramley Road, was presented with the Arctic Star Medal, awarded posthumously to his father, Thomas Ellis Stannard, in recognition of his help in escorting the Russian cargo convoys through the Arctic Ocean in the early 1940s.

The late Mr Stannard, who had served in the Navy for 15 years as an able seaman gunner, had been aboard the HMS Niger when it was sunk while carrying survivors from HMS Edinburgh on July 5, 1942, after severe fog caused the Halcyon-class minesweeper ship to inadvertently stray into a British minefield.

Billie, who is currently a member of the Diss and District Royal British Legion, told the Diss Express: “I feel extremely honoured and proud that this Arctic Medal has been awarded to me.

“I saw it advertised in a magazine so I applied for it. I was quite surprised when I got it after all these years.”

The Arctic Star Medal, which was only established in 2012, is given out for any length of service above the Arctic Circle by members of the British Armed Forces and the Navy between September 3, 1939 and May 8, 1945.

Billie, one of a family of eight brothers and sisters, had previously accepted the Arctic Convoy Emblem on his father’s behalf back in 2006 on Remembrance Day, which was also to honour Thomas Stannard’s major involvement in helping to protect merchant naval vessels from German bombers and U-boats as they delivered ammunition and food to Russian ports during wartime.

He added: “The Royal British Legion have been saying for a while now that the people who were in the convoys should be recognised, so I am really proud about it.”

Along with his twin brother Joe, Billie was, at a very young age, sent to live away from his home in Victoria Road, Diss following his father’s death, with only two of the eight siblings able to stay at home to be looked after by their mother.

At the age of 17, the twins joined their two older brothers in following their father’s footsteps into the Royal Navy, where Billie served in the Fleet Air Arm as an Aircraft Electrician for 12 years, touring in various countries including Malta and being deployed on aircraft carriers such as Ark Royal and Victorious.

During this time, he also met his wife Myra, who was a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, whilst at the former Royal Navy Air Station in Glasgow.

n Do you know somebody who has been awarded with an Arctic Star Medal or another prestigious commendation? Call or write to us (see the contacts on page nine) or send over an email to editorial@dissexpress.co.uk and let us know.