Obituary: Thomas Lawson, veteran of the Arctic convoys

Thomas Lawson in his navy days
Thomas Lawson in his navy days

A Kirkcaldy war veteran who was one of only a few to be honoured with special medals for valour has died.

Thomas Lawson (89), who was a resident at Elizabeth House care home in Kirkcaldy, passed away on Friday.

Mr Lawson was recently honoured for the second time after braving what Winston Churchill described as “the worst journey in the world.”

Mr Lawson was a member of the crew aboard destroyer HMS Undaunted which undertook one of the most perilous sea duties of the Second World War – the protection of Arctic convoys.

He was one of around 66,000 sailors who risked their lives to help the Soviets fend off German advances by supplying them with arms and ammunition.

More than 3000 died on the trips, which saw crews run the gauntlet of German U-boats and aircraft, as well as ice fields.

In August 2013 he was presented with the Arctic Star Medal by Captain Smith for his service during the war in keeping the Russian forces going with supplies.

And in November last year he was honoured with a new Russian medal, the Ushakov medal - an award for bravery - by Andrey Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh. Again this was for his service in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

Mr Lawson was born in Newburgh on July 20, 1925 and had two brothers and a sister. He left school at the age of 15 and started work in Blythes factory where he worked until joining the Merchant Navy serving on HMS Undaunted and was part of the Arctic Convoys.

After coming out of the Navy, he worked with Menzies the builders in Kirkcaldy. From there he worked with Nicol of Dysart Demolishing, then Hunter Scot Dem and lastly La Speranza in Kirkcaldy as a delivery driver until he retired at the age of 75. He had been at Elizabeth House since 2009.

He will be sadly missed by his daughters Anne and Lynne, his grandson Mark, grandaughter Yvonne and brother William. His funeral will be held at Kirkcaldy Crematorium on Wednesday, February 11 at 1.30 p.m.