A VETERAN has appeared in a Navy magazine after being named the first British seaman to receive a US honorary award.

Tom Robson, originally from Trimdon Grange, joined the Navy at 15 after working at Fishburn Colliery for a year.

Mr Robson, who now lives in Darlington, was made an honorary company commander in the US Navy and met with the town’s MP Jenny Chapman to share his news.

The 86-year-old said: “I was so pleased when I got in the Navy because I knew I was on my way to a proper life. It was hard, but I was doing something for my country and everybody I met during the training was brilliant. They were the best seaman in the world.

“All the sailors did very well, and we made a good Navy for the country. Everyone was united, it was like you were with your brothers, they were just the best.”

In 1996, he released a book called the Boy Seaman R.N which is a retelling of his own experiences.

Mr Robson left school at 14 and volunteered for the Royal Navy, joining as a boy seaman in 1947 and training at HMS Bruce in Scotland. He became a petty officer by the age of 24.

Mr Robson made connections with the US after travelling to Orlando with his wife Rita. He began talking with some of the US officers and telling them about his experiences as a young seaman. The officers from the Recruit Training Command invited the veteran to visit the next day.

He then began visiting regularly, giving advice and demonstrations on rope-work.

Mr Robson was thrilled when at a passing out parade the senior officers surprised him with a wooden plaque.

Mr Robson has been attending the charity’s veterans group for the past three years on Wednesday mornings at Age UK Darlington, Bradbury House Beaumont Street West.

For information email enquiries@ageuknyd.org.uk