On Monday morning in the front room of a seaside home in Port William, a little piece of history was made.
Johnny McBryde, a veteran of the Second World War Atlantic convoys, stood his 90-year-old frame to attention one last time as the Lord Lieutenant of Wigtownshire, Teresa Brewis, pinned an official campaign medal from the British government to his chest.
For many years The Galloway Gazette has highlighted Johnny’s long fight, along with the few remaining Atlantic convoy veterans still living, to get official recognition from the government for their suffering and contribution to the war effort.
And the Gazette was instrumental in securing the services of Mrs Brewis to make the presentation. Johnny said: “It’s been a long time coming and most of the men I served with are not here now. I was chuffed that the Lord Lieutenant came down to present me with my medal.”
Afterwards, the Lord Lieutenant said she was “proud and honoured to be able to present Mr McBryde with his well deserved medal”.
Galloway MP Russell Brown added: “I am absolutely delighted for Johnny and his family that at long last he has got his medal as there are fewer and fewer convoy veterans left. They had a tough time during the war, then faced a totally different battle to get official recognition. And it’s fitting the presentation happened during Armed Forces Week.”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson commented: “I am absolutely delighted that Johnny McBryde’s contribution to the war effort has now been properly recognised by the presentation of this medal. It is long overdue but very fitting recognition of the extraordinary dangers that these brave seamen faced on the Atlantic convoys and I know that Mr McBryde will receive his medal not just for himself, but on behalf of all his colleagues who have not lived to see this happy outcome.”
Johnny served in the North Atlantic for 14 months on HMS Obedient guarding Allied shipping taking supplies to Murmansk.