A CAMPAIGNING war veteran from South Tyneside has lost his final battle.
Former Merchant Navy seaman Orston Bulman, of Cleadon, has died at the age of 94.
The chief engineer, who sailed on the biggest Arctic Convoy – the PQ16 – was admitted to South Tyneside District Hospital last Tuesday after suffering from abdominal pain, and died of heart failure on Saturday.
The father of three, grandfather of six, and great-grandfather of eight, campaigned for years for Merchant Navy seaman who sailed during the Second World War to receive a medal from the Government for the service they did for their country.
His daughter, Ann Grainger, of Seaburn, said it was a “highlight of his latter years” when he finally received the Arctic Star in June.
“It really made dad’s year,” she said.
“He was thrilled to get it, and we had a lovely day with all the family.
“Of course, he thought it was too little, too late, as everyone did, but it’s time to let bygones be bygones now, because they did get it and he was over the moon.
“He would have loved the Royal Mail stamps just released in honour of the Merchant Navy.
“He would think it was a lovely way to be recognised and think they were wonderful.
“There will be a Merchant Navy flag placed over his coffin.”
Mr Bulman, who lived in sheltered housing at Pinfold Court, was discharged from the Merchant Navy in 1949.
Known by all as a “gentleman”, he sailed around the world to Australia and America during his service, and braved freezing temperatures sailing to Murmansk, Russia, on the Empire Baffin in the PQ16 in 1942.
He went on to work as an engineer for MMI insurance company.
Married to Nell, who died aged 88 in 2006, for 67 years, Mr Bulman was also father to Philip, 60, also a former Merchant Navy senior chief engineer, who now lives in Kent, and Robert, 71.
A lifelong Sunderland fan and keen bowler, Mrs Grainger said he will be missed by many.
“He knew a lot of people,” she said. “He played indoor bowls at Crowtree Leisure Centre until it closed in April – that was a big blow to him – and he asked if Sunderland were playing on the day he died.
“Everyone at Pinfold Court was shocked by his death, because it was so sudden. Everyone has said they will miss him.”
Mr Bulman’s funeral will take place at Sunderland Crematorium on Thursday, at 11am, and a reception will follow at Pinfold Court.
Donations should be made to the Nautilous Welfare Fund for retired seafarers.
Call 0151 639 8454 for more details.