Arctic Convoy hero Jack to read at Westminster Abbey

John Jack Wilson
John Jack Wilson

A war hero who braved Nazi U-boats to ensure vital supplies reached the Allies during the Second World War has been honoured with a prestigious role at Westminster Abbey during the VE celebrations.

Former Clitheroe police inspector, John Wilson, better known as Jack, is one of just a handful of surviving veterans of the Arctic convoys, which saw Royal Navy ships escort merchant vessels to the Soviet Union – Britain’s wartime ally in the fight against Nazi Germany.

In honour of his courageous role during the conflict, the 91-year-old has been invited to play an important part during the three days of national commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

John has been asked to give a Bible reading at a special Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey on Sunday (May 10th) attended by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, members of The Royal Family, and up to 1,000 veterans and their families.

Speaking of the invitation, he said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed and delighted to be asked. It’s a credit to my family and Clitheroe – a place I am very proud of. I am just overjoyed to be chosen and am really looking forward to it.”

After the service, a parade of over 2,000 Service personnel, veterans and their guests will march from Westminster Abbey to Horse Guards Parade, passing the balcony in Whitehall where Winston Churchill appeared before the crowds on VE Day after his famous speech to mark Victory in Europe. The world-famous Red Arrows will also make a flypast over Central London.