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Tributes paid to hero of the Arctic convoys
3:00pm Saturday 14th December 2013 in News
TRIBUTES have been paid to a Weymouth hero who died weeks before a medal presentation for his part in one of the most dangerous missions of the Second World War.
Jeffery Masters, who lived in Weymouth until just before his death, was a teenager in the Royal Navy when he took part in the Arctic Convoys, delivering vital military supplies to the Soviet Union.
He received his Arctic Star medal in the post in September, but died, aged 87, just as his family was trying to arrange a medal presentation for him at Britannia Royal Navy College in Dartmouth.
Mr Masters’ daughter, Claire Oakley, 52, of Dartmouth, said she was proud to collect the medal last month on her father’s behalf.
Mr Masters’ ailing health meant he had recently moved to Devon to be looked after by his daughter.
Claire said: “It’s a shame my dad wasn’t able to go and collect his medal.
“I was chuffed to be able to receive it on his behalf.
“It was really nice to speak to the other veterans who were being presented with their medals.”
Claire said her dad rarely talked about his part in the 1941-45 convoys, which led to the death of 3,000 men who came under fire from German U-boats.
She said: “From what I grasped it was pretty horrific, but he made jokes of it.
“He never went into great depth about what happened.
“I just remember him telling me about how he had to break the ice off everything.
“When dad heard he would receive a medal he was very pleased, but he kept on saying how sorry he was for the men who didn’t make it.”
Mr Masters, who was known as Mac, moved to Weymouth from Ilchester when he was in his early 20s.
He was a passionate Terras supporter and volunteered at Weymouth FC and at Weymouth Speedway.
Mrs Masters passed away in 1994 and Mr Masters moved to sheltered housing in Bedford Road. He is buried in Weymouth Cemetery. All of great grandfather Mr Masters’ war memorabilia will be donated to Dartmouth Museum.
Claire said: “The items will be on permanent loan and people will be able to see the items for years to come.
“Hopefully his great grandson will be able to go and see them when he is old enough.”
Claire said her dad will always be remembered as a ‘big character’.
She added: “He would never complain, not even on the day he died. He was so polite and grateful for everything in his life.”
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