Pershore Veteran recalls momentous day in history

Heathlands Residential Care Home, Station Road, Pershore WR10 1NG.Photo: Ed Maynard07976 239803www.edmaynard.com (5953980)

Heathlands Residential Care Home, Station Road, Pershore WR10 1NG.Photo: Ed Maynard07976 239803www.edmaynard.com (5953980)

First published in News

ON the anniversary of VE Day a Pershore RAF Veteran has shared his memories of the Second World War.

Brian Cookson, who lives in Pershore's Heathlands Residential Care Home, in Station Road, served in the Second World War and last year was awarded the Arctic Star medal for his time in the Arctic Circle.

Now 69-years after the war was declared over on Tuesday, May 8, 1945, the 98-year-old Sanctuary Care resident has recalled the momentous day in history.

Mr Cookson, who was just 24 when he joined the RAF, said: "I was at the RAF’s coastal headquarters in Scotland when the war was declared over. It was a great relief. I and the people around me were delighted, we were just all greatly relieved."

In 1943 Brian transferred to 190 Squadron where he searched for U-Boats on Catalinas, one of the most widely used sea planes of the Second World War known as flying boats.

He also played a crucial role in protecting merchant navy vessels on their dangerous journey to North Russia.

Speaking of his missions in the North Atlantic and Arctic Seas patrolling with 612 Squadron Whitley, searching for deadly U-Boats, he said: "We were simply doing what we had to do for our country. However I can only describe my time on the convoys as absolute hell."

The Arctic Star, which acknowledges the bravery of those who served in the Arctic convoys, is a retrospective honour announced in 2012 after years of campaigning by the Service and Personnel Veterans Agency and was awarded to Mr Cookson in November 2013.

Following his service Mr Cookson acted as a Bombing Leader and played an important role in developing the Leigh Light, a powerful searchlight which enabled RAF aircrafts to sink U-Boats.

Anita Fletcher, the manager at Heathlands, said they would be thinking of all who had fought in the war on VE Day.

"The bravery of Brian and those who served to protect their country is something that should never be forgotten and we will be thinking of our veterans and the sacrifices they made on this special day."

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