Pontypool war veteran finally honoured for Arctic service
A WAR veteran who waited more than 70 years to receive a medal for service in the Arctic was finally given it, three days before his 95th birthday.
Ted Cogdell, from Griffithstown, served 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Norway between April and June in 1940, during World War Two.
His anti-aircraft regiment was responsible for shooting down German bombers.
Now he has been recognised for his service in formidable conditions with the Arctic Star.
Mr Cogdell descibed the challenges facing the soldiers: "We had no darkness half the time. You could see the sun go down and ten minutes later it would come up again."
He said the hardest plane to combat was the German Stuka, a Ju 87 dive bomber: "It came screaming down like a vertical banshee".
He also said looking for paratroopers in a blizzard did "nothing for our morale."
But he counted himself lucky all the same, describing the Northern Lights and mountains rising from the sea as beautiful: "I have got a lot to be thankful for, in spite of the war."
As well as serving with the 55th Light Anti-Aircraft with the Royal Artillery in Norway, Mr Cogwell's seven years of service took in the Battle of Britain, Sri Lanka, Burma and India.
After the war was over, Mr Cogdell returned to Wales and worked at the Panteg steel works.
He was involved with the Burma Star in Newport, serving as chairman.
Mr Cogdell's wife Maisie died 13 years ago and he now lives in Two Locks, Cwmbran, with sister-in-law Gloria Williams.
His daughter Susan lives in Newport, and he has four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Mr Cogdell wants other veterans to know they may be able to claim the award. Those eligible must have served north of the Arctic Circle for at least one day during World War Two.
Veteran has returned to Norway
Mr Cogdell kept strong ties with Norway and regretted never having seen the grave of his friend Albert Badham, who was shot in the head by a German bomber.
Mr Badham had to be buried by the side of the road, but later he was moved from the makeshift grave to the town of Mo i Rana.
Sad he never got to see his friend properly laid to rest, when Mr Cogdell started using the internet, well into his 80s, he found the e-mail address of a man who lived near where Mr Badham was buried.
He got in touch with Tommy Skog and asked him if he might be able to take a picture of his friend's grave for him.
A few days later, the picture arrived in his inbox.
Since then Mr Cogdell and Mr Skog have remained friends despite the 47-year age gap between them and have met in the UK and in Norway.
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