Peterborough Naval Veteran receives Norwegian Commemorative Medal

Peterborough Naval Veteran, 100, receives Norwegian Commemorative Medal in honour of his service almost 80 years ago.

George Hockney: The Young ‘Tiffy’

On 10th July, George W. Hockney BEM, a resident of Park House, Nursing Home in Peterborough, was the subject of a very special presentation, held by Defence Attaché Colonel John Andreas Olsen from the Norwegian Embassy.

A Norwegian Commemorative Medal has been presented to George, 100, in honour of the role he played in the Norwegian Campaign, which was the first Allied sea, air and land campaignof World War II. As the 80th Anniversary of the Norway Campaign approaches, the presentation recognises the service George and his comrades provided whilst onboard HMS Auckland.

George receiving his medal from Col Olsen

The Presentation, attended by family, friends, RNA members, staff and fellow residents of Park House, came as a result of the personal efforts of Tim Kundu, a historian and lecturer who has been campaigning for greater recognition of the role of the British Armed Forces in the Norway Campaign.

Tim is a member of the Romford and Hornchurch Branch of the Royal Naval Association and had read an article from the Peterborough and District Branch about George’s 100th birthday in the March 2019 edition of the Semaphore Circular. This mentioned that George took part in the Norwegian Campaign. Having met George and his son Michael to discuss the Campaign, Tim contacted the Norwegian Embassy and was thrilled that they agreed to hold this special presentation to honour the services Mr Hockney gave in Alesund, Namsos and Andalsnes.

George with Mr Mungwaluku Mupatu, Col John Olsen and Tim Kundu

George, who  was born in Peterborough in 1919, joined the Royal Navy as an Engine Room Artificer. His naval career earned him a number of prestigious medals including the British Empire Medal, 1945 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Palestine Medal, Malta Medal, War Medal and Defence Medal.

George is a Life Member of the Peterborough and District Branch of the Royal Naval Association and Shipmates from the Branch attended the celebratory event to recognise and thank George for his dedicated service to the Navy.

George with Col Olsen and his shipmates from the RNA Peterborough branch

Talking about the presentation, George Hockney said ‘I vividly remember my days in the Royal Navy and was very surprised to hear that the Norwegian Embassy wanted to meet me. I feel very proud to receive the medal on behalf of all my comrades; it’s an honour and a prvilege. Thank you to Tim Kundu who made this happen.’

Historian and lecturer Tim Kundu has been campaigning for better recognition of Britain’s role in the Norway Campaign and was delighted to receive acknowledgement from the Norwegian Embassy, as he explains: ‘During a post graduate research degree I studied British wartime strategies between 1939 and 1940 and was asked to give a lecture on the Norwegian Campaign. It was here that I became fascinated by the subject, however at each major anniversary of World War II, I noticed no major commemorative service was held to mark the first air, sea and land campaign of the War that took place in Norway.’

‘I felt that the servicemen should be honoured, so took it upon myself to find veterans who had been involved. I feel privileged to have traced and met Mr Hockney – I have had such a wonderful time interviewing him about his experiences. His recollections are so fresh and vivid and he enabled me to learn so much more about the Norwegian Campaign. Mr Hockney is a truly outstanding and remarkable person; his wonderful nature, inner strength and fine sense of humour have made a profound impression on me.’

‘I believe firmly that all the British veterans of the Norwegian Campaign and their comrades should be honoured officially and that their role in World War Two deserves to be widely acknowledged in Britain. Congratulations to George on receiving the well-deserved medal and recognition – I am overjoyed at this outcome.’

Col Olsen and George Hockney BEM

Added Mungwaluku Mupatu, Park House Nursing Home’s Manager, ‘Today has been a day of absolute celebration and we are all very happy and proud of George. He thoroughly deserves all the recognition he has received for what he did in the Royal Navy and all those years ago. He is very happy to today accept the medal on behalf of all those that played a role in this monumental campaign.’