A war hero has finally received his service medals – 72 years after leaving the RAF.
Albert Pemberton-Sheen, of Ashton, was guest of honour at the opening of the RAF Association’s new Wings Centre, in Fishergate, Preston, yesterday morning.
The 96-year-old, who trained scores of Second World War fighter pilots, said it was “a great pleasure” to be presented with the Defence Medal and the 1939-45 Medal in front of a throng of family members, military dignitaries, charity volunteers and the Mayor of Preston.
Mr Pemberton-Sheen’s step daughter Elaine Robinson, who applied for the medals, urged other families to check what their family veterans were entitled to.
Group Captain (Retired) Nicky Loveday, who presented the medals said: “The nation has finally been able to say thank you.”
The veteran, who lives in the Ashton area of Preston, didn’t realise he was eligible for the Defence Medal and the 1939-45 Medal until step-daughter Elaine started making enquiries at the new RAF Association’s new Wings Centre in Fishergate.
With information from Albert and centre manager Ian Barber, within two weeks the medals had arrived, and were presented at a special ceremony yesterday morning.
“It’s been wonderful”, said Mr Pemberton-Sheen. “I had no idea about the medals, but I’m really pleased to be able to get them now. I’d encourage other veterans to look into what they are entitled to. It is so important.”
Ms Robinson said: “I saw on a television programme something about a 100-year-old veteran finally receiving his medals and I began to wonder whether Bert had his.
“I started to investigate, and as I work in the Fishergate Centre I had noticed the Wings Centre under construction.
“I rang the doorbell before it had even opened and the staff were able to help me find out more. I gave them all the information I could, and within two or three weeks, the medals had arrived.
“It was so easy to do and I’d definitely recommend that other people look into it for their family members.
“It’s just a shame my mum Jeannie isn’t here to see this.
“She loved these kind of things but Bert’s a bit opposite, he doesn’t like to be the centre of attention, but I think he’s enjoying it really.”
Mr Pemberton-Sheen’s sister, Dorothy Knight, said: “It’s wonderful they have made such a fuss of him, it’s just a shame it’s taken so long and that our brothers are no longer here to be able to share the day.”
Group Captain (Retired) Loveday saluted the veteran after pinning the meals to his jacket.
She said: “I have served in the RAF for 25 years and I can’t think of a more pleasurable thing I’ve been asked to do.
“He never received the medals when he left the RAF and the nation did not have the chance to say thank you to him. So for us to be able to do this now is very important. It’s a huge honour for me.”