Sunday 28 December 2014

Carson's son hails medal decision

Published 27/12/2012 | 12:25

Frank Carson would have been delighted at a Government move to offer more recognition of the bravery of wartime sailors, his son has said

A son of late comic Frank Carson has said his father would have been delighted at a Government move to offer more recognition of the bravery of wartime sailors.

Carson's eldest brother Johnny was a merchant seaman in the Second World War who died when his boat was torpedoed in the Atlantic in December 1940.

Before his death earlier this year, the Belfast stand-up, who himself served with the British Army in the Middle East, had called for greater honours for those who ran the gauntlet of German U-boat attacks to keep the war effort alive.

One of the causes he championed - the long campaign for an Arctic medal for those veterans who kept a northern supply route open to the Russians fighting on the Eastern Front - finally achieved success earlier this month when Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a separate medal would be struck to mark their actions.

More than 3,000 seamen died on the Arctic convoys - a voyage Winston Churchill described as the "worst journey in the world".

Frank Carson's son Tony said the medal victory would have been a source of great satisfaction for his father. "He would be very happy," he said. "It was one of the many issues he was passionate about. He felt if people did a good job they deserved recognition. It's unfortunate he's not around to hear the good news."

Johnny Carson, who was 16, was one of 43 sailors who died when merchant ship the Victoria City sank off the coast of Ireland.

His father, who shared his name, was serving with the Royal Navy at the time and when the family were alerted to the tragedy for days they did not know which John had perished.

Tony Carson said the death of Johnny had a big impact on his father.

The Grand Opera House in Belfast is staging a gala tribute night to Frank Carson on the first anniversary of his death on February 28. All proceeds from the show will benefit two of the comic's favourite local charities - the Integrated Education Fund and CLIC Sargent's Northern Ireland Homes from Home Appeal.

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