AN EX-Home Guard soldier from Boston has received a medal for his services during the Second World War – 67 years later.
George Frederick Perkins, of Wainfleet Road, said he was ‘over the moon’ when his Defence Medal finally arrived in the post on Thursday.
“At the time you just did it because it was the thing to do,” said George, 88. “But to actually have some recognition after all these years is great.”
George joined the Home Guard in Sleaford in November, 1940, and stayed with the group until it disbanded in December, 1944. At that time he worked on a farm in Barkston, Grantham.
Recalling memories of his time with them, George speaks of the comradeship – but also remembers the atmosphere of fear that the country would be invaded at any moment. But even without the threat of the enemy, activities in the Home Guard could also be dangerous. During a practice session with live ammo George received a shrapnel wound on his lower arm from a grenade.
Speaking to The Standard, George’s daughter Jane Graupp said she spent hours reseaching online and hunting through her family’s old belongings to uncover the proof the Ministry of Defence (MOD) required in order to issue him with the medal.
After contacting the MOD his hopes were dashed when they were told no record of his service could be found in their archives. They did, however, include a questionnaire and asked for more information to give eligibility to his request.
Jane said: “Undeterred we opened old tins, boxes, and anything he had stored away to find proof of his service. Finally we located an old photo of dad with this brother Jim, father Henry and other members of the battalion – plus an old bit of paper.”
This was an official Home Guard letter which read: ‘In the years when our country was in mortal danger, G. F. Perkins, who served from Nov. 15 ‘40 to Dec. 31 ‘44 gave generously of his time and powers to make himself ready for her defence by force of arms and with his life if need be.’ The letter was signed George R. I. – The King.
Speaking on Thursday, Jane said: “Armed with this new information we sent it to the MOD. Several weeks passed, but today the postman delivered a recorded package and inside was a letter and Defence Medal issued to CPL. G. F. Perkins.”
Jane added: “It was a long time coming – but what a proud moment it was when he opened the box to see this gleaming silver medal.”
She concluded: “I wonder how many other proud serving Home Guard personnel are eligible to a medal and don’t know it?”