Campaigning Pensnett widow finally receives medal in memory of convoys veteran Mick

Stourbridge News: Campaigning Pensnett widow Phyllis Coyle with the medal issued commemorating her husband Mick's bravery on the Arctic Convoys. Buy photo: 431316M Campaigning Pensnett widow Phyllis Coyle with the medal issued commemorating her husband Mick's bravery on the Arctic Convoys. Buy photo: 431316M

A PLUCKY Pensnett widow who has campaigned tirelessly for greater recognition for veterans of the Arctic convoys has finally received a new medal in memory of her late husband.

Phyllis Coyle, whose husband Mick was among the WWII heroes who endured what Winston Churchill described as “the worst journey in the world”, campaigned tirelessly for a new medal to be made honouring the convoys veterans who braved perilous seas, freezing temperatures and German U-boats to deliver vital supplies to Russia.

She breathed a sigh of relief late last year when Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed a new campaign medal would be created - in addition to the previously issued “tiny” Arctic Star badge.

And she finally received the new accolade through the post on Wednesday October 16.

Gutsy great-grandmother Mrs Coyle, aged 85, said: “It’s lovely.

“Mick would have been overjoyed.”

The new medal comes a year after Mrs Coyle unveiled Britain’s first Arctic convoys memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire.

She and daughter Jennifer Picken, from Brierley Hill, used their savings to fund the £18,000 black granite memorial - plus a further £12,000 for its upkeep - which commemorates more than 3,000 seamen who lost their lives on the ships between 1941 and 1945.

Navy man Mr Coyle survived his time on HMS Bulldog and made it his duty thereafter to remember fallen comrades.

However he was always disappointed there was no official UK memorial to those who died on the ‘Russian Run’ so after his death in November 2010, aged 85, Mrs Coyle began a quest to grant his final wish.

And thanks to her efforts wreaths can now be laid for convoys comrades every Remembrance Sunday at the Alrewas memorial.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin, a keen supporter of Mrs Coyle’s campaigning, said: “Phyllis is a lovely lady and she and her family have worked wonders to honour Mick’s memory and the sacrifices made by so many men on the convoys.”

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