A SECOND World War Royal Air Force man has finally received a service medal for his exploits - 58 years after the end of the war.

Great-grandfather Leslie Iceton, 88, who lives in east Redcar, said he, like many others, qualified for the medal because he served as an RAF driver during the four years of conflict.

But it was only after a seeing a television documentary series, written and presented by journalist Max Hastings, about the relationship between Winston Churchill and legendary RAF leader Bomber Arthur Harris, that Mr Iceton was prompted to speak up about the delay.

He called our sister paper The Northern Echo and said that he had been fascinated by Churchill's treatment of Bomber Harris in the Channel 4 documentary.

He also said he thought a lot of men were never rightly honoured for their service to their country.

Mr Iceton said the service medal should have been awarded at the end of the war in 1945 but he claimed that Churchill scuppered the plan, possibly as a result of various disputes with Bomber Harris.

Mr Iceton said: "He sacked Bomber Harris, just like he did a lot of other Army and RAF men leading the war effort.

"Bomber was sacked by Churchill in 1944. He had wanted the medal struck for everyone in the RAF back in 1945 but Churchill said 'no,' why I don't know.

"Anyway they struck it recently for everyone who served.

"You had to prove you did and it cost a few bob for charity. I'm very proud to have the medal."

Mr Iceton's late wife Gladys was an 'Aycliffe Angel' munitions worker in the war.

Mr Iceton only went on one flying raid when he helped to fly food to the starving people of The Netherlands in an unarmed plane in 1945.

Mr Iceton served in North Lincolnshire and at other RAF bases across Britain as a driver where he saw many dead and badly injured comrades flown home.