Almost 70 years ago, Derek Hines braved sub-zero temperatures and mountainous seas serving as an aircraft mechanic on HMS Implacable.
A grand old WW2 veteran past away recently. Derek Hines, father of Jenny Murphy, was in his 90’s and had served in the Royal Naval Baltic Convoys. He, along with his Royal Navy colleagues, braved sub-zero temperatures whilst serving as an aircraft mechanic on HMS Implacable and HMS Formidable. Around 3,000 people died whilst serving on those convoys and Winston Churchill called it “the worst journey in the world”, but the servicemen were not given their service medal for 70 years!
When Derek and 39 of his colleagues finally received his service medal the Arctic Star, just over a year ago, he was interviewed by his local newspaper, the Leicester Mercury and explained that: “When HMS Implacable was north of the Arctic Circle, it was bitterly cold and a storm developed which was the worst for 80 years. For four days, early in 1944, the ship was tossed about in the worst storm imaginable and waves as big as houses crashed against the ship, and nobody was allowed on deck throughout the whole time.”
The Arctic Star was created a couple of years ago, after pressure from Veterans who said their service should be recognised by a decoration. When Derek received his medal the journalist asked him how pleased he was to finally get it, and Derek very unselfishly said: “I am very pleased to have received the Arctic Star. I am pleased that, at last, the government has decided to recognise our service and that of so many thousands of others. The Arctic Star is not only for me but I have it in recognition for my colleagues who I served with and those who have since died.” A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that, eventually, 29,000 Veterans and their next of kin would qualify to receive the medal. Derek’s Arctic Star is now added to the array of medals that he’d already received, after the war.
After being demobbed, Derek became a miner, working at Desford Colliery for 33 years. But, that’s not all he did, as he was also a prolific entertainer and started a comic band. He and his fellow band members dressed up and entertained at carnivals to raise money for charity. His wife, Maggie was a very good singer and won several competitions, and they always managed to get the audience to sing along. Also, Derek and his daughter, Jenny, were in pantomimes together and raised lots of money for charity.
Derek is now reunited with his wife, Maggie.
Derek: We, at THE BRITISH VOICE, thank you for your service to our country. Let’s hope that the present generation of ‘youngsters’ realise what sacrifices and suffering you and your generation went through, to preserve the freedom of future generations of British people.