Tributes to war veteran Neville Boden who battled 'the worst journey in the world' ... and survived
A FORMER Merchant Navy officer who sailed on the notoriously treacherous Arctic Convoys during the Second World War has died aged 86.
Neville Boden passed away peacefully at his home in Immingham on Saturday, February 16 following a long illness.
Today, Frances, his wife of 61 years, paid tribute to a "hard-working" person who was "happy in everything he did".
Neville served on the tanker MV Marathon, which carried supplies of aircraft fuel to Russia in 1943.
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With treacherously icy conditions to contend with and the threat of constant attack from both aircraft and submarines, Winston Churchill described the route of the convoys as "the worst journey in the world".
As reported in the Grimsby Telegraph last year, Neville was one of the veterans prevented from receiving the Russian Silver Ushakov medal for bravery because of British government rules over the awarding of military decorations.
He also served on the HMLSI Empire Lance, a ship which brought British troops to Normandy during the D-Day Landings in June 1944.
Neville, a retired engineer, lived in Immingham for the past 15 years and joined the Grimsby branch of the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA) in 2004.
Born in Lancaster in April 1926, he spent most of his childhood in the Wirral. After leaving school he spent eight months training as a wireless operator with the Merchant Navy, but with a long waiting list and no jobs in the offing, he joined as a junior ordinary seaman.
During the war he sailed on tankers carrying petrol from the US and the Caribbean to the UK, before joining the Arctic Convoys. He remained in the Merchant Navy until 1956, and was stationed in Malaya for eight years.
Neville returned with Frances and their son Anthony to the Wirral, where Neville bought Whiston Engineering, which he ran for 20 years until he retired through ill health.
Neville moved to Immingham about 15 years ago to be closer to his father after the death of his mother. His brother Walter, a former skipper for Ross Trawlers, was living in Grimsby at the time.
Aside from meeting up with fellow members of the NVA, Neville's favourite pastime was going caravanning.
He also doted on his pet cat Lucky, who died last year.
Frances said: "He never had his overalls off."
Neville's friend and fellow Normandy veteran Alf Duncan, 86, of Humberston, said: "He was a character and he liked a joke. I'm going to miss him."
Neville's funeral is at St Andrew's Church, Immingham, at 3pm today . The Pelham Singers will be leading the hymns.