VETERAN William Ferridge didn’t have much time for paperwork after he finished his military service in 1946.
And time soon flies, which is why the 91-year-old, of Crookhorn Lane in Waterlooville, never received any of the war medals he was entitled to.
So the last thing Mr Ferridge expected was to be presented with them at a flag-raising ceremony in Havant yesterday to mark the upcoming Armed Forces Day.
Veterans, cadets and members of the armed forces joined councillors and the public outside the town’s council offices yesterday to raise the flag in honour of all servicemen and women.
After the ceremony, the mayor of Havant, Marjorie Smallcorn, turned her attention to Mr Ferridge, and revealed his medals before presenting them to him.
Mr Ferridge said: ‘It was a big surprise but a very nice one.
‘I was shocked really, and didn’t know what to say, although somehow I had an inkling something was going to happen.
‘I never got round to applying for my medals myself. I had just been married and when I left the service I had to get a job and earn a living. Life got in the way.
‘Recently I tried applying using the internet but that was a bit daunting to me.
‘So this was a very nice surprise.’
The medals were applied for on behalf of Mr Ferridge by his friends and fellow members of Leigh Park Bowls Club, Patricia and Dennis Read.
Mrs Read, 72, of Leigh Park, said: ‘I felt quite emotional when he was presented with the medals.
‘He is a good man and he deserves it.
‘It all came about because my husband Dennis went to the recent D-Day commemorations in Portsmouth with him and he told us he didn’t have any medals.
‘We spoke to the Ministry of Defence and because of his age they treated him as a priority case and sent the medals within two weeks.’
The medals included the Italy Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.
Cllr Smallcorn said: ‘It is so important to hold these events because we owe so much to the men and women in the armed forces.
‘It was a real honour for me to be able to present William with his medals.’