Sailors’s bravery honoured

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One of Spen’s bravest sons has been rewarded after 70 years for navigating one of the most dangerous missions during World War II.

Norman Riches, 91, has just received the Arctic Star Medal for his service in the Fleet Air Arm on the Arctic Convoys.

The medal has this year been awarded to former Navy personnel who faced freezing temperatures, constant enemy attacks and near-total darkness when they delivered supplies to northern ports of the Soviet allies during World War II.

Mr Riches, who now lives in a residential home in Skipton, grew up in Pavement Street, Scholes, before serving on the H MS Nabob during the war.

His daughter, Susan Allan, said Norman was delighted to have finally been recognised by the government for the service he gave to his country.

She added: “He is thrilled to have finally got it, and I am delighted too. What they did was very difficult work.

“It is just a shame that so many of the men who served are not alive to receive the medals today, but it is good that they are finally being remembered.”

After leaving the Navy, Mr Riches moved back to Scholes and became an engineer at Garnett Wire, Cleckheaton, where he lived until moving to Skipton in 2011.