A NAVY veteran who defended the coast of Norway from German troops during WWII is finally being awarded the medal honouring his bravery 75 years on.

Edwin Leadbetter was only 18 when he signed up to serve aboard HMS Fencer, an attacker-class escort aircraft carrier that left the Loch Ewe Naval base in 1943 to provide aircraft cover for Navy vessels and carry out reconnaissance work.

In his 11 years in service, Mr Leadbetter circumvented the globe sailing the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic Circle escorting convoys and defending waters from Britain to Russia.

In 1944, when the German navy were attempting to capture Norwegian ports, HMS Fencer was diverted to the Kaa Fjord to provide anti-submarine cover. It was here he and his fellow officers showed bravery in the face of a unforgiving enemy and earned the award which he will be presented with on Wednesday.

Daughter Liz McKenna, of Newton Mearns, has been trying to track down the missing pieces of her father’s brace of medals since 2014, when her late husband Robert, also a Navy officer, realised he was due more than the four he had been presented with.

With the Norwegian Government’s Commemorative Medal, which will be given to him in his home by the Norwegian defence attache, almost within reach, she has only one left to complete the set - Russia’s Medal of Ushakov, about which she has written directly to President Putin.

She said: “He didn’t speak about his war years but I always remember as a child my father coming home with his uniform and the highlight for us was he used to save up ha’pennys in empty Sunpat nut packages.”

Mr Leadbetter still stands proud at 94, his collection of medals glittering on his breast. He’s in good health apart from the slowly-progressing dementia that affects his short term memory.

Born in Bridgeton, he met his wife Margaret on a station platform in Perth. They were married in 1945 in Glasgow before having seven children, with Liz, the third, born in 1949.

Because her father was still touring as an able-bodied quartermaster, Margaret and her children moved to Perth to be closer to her family.

His daughter said: “It sounds daft but every time he came home there was another child on the way.”

Mr Leadbetter left the Navy in 1954, going on to work as a sheet metal plater’s labourer at Barclay Curle’s Scotstoun yard before moving on again into the building trade and a long-distance lorry driver. He was a hard worker, his daughter says, and could turn his hand to almost anything.

Mrs McKenna’s husband was tracking down Mr Leadbetter’s Navy Arctic Service Ribbon when he sadly died. She promised him that he would continue the quest and unite her father with his medals.

She volunteered at armed forces charity, SSAFA and was able to track down the right people to continue the search and he was awarded the Arctic medal in 2016. 

She also tracked down her father’s outstanding defence medal from the Ministry of Defence to join his 1939- 1945 war medal, his Atlantic star, his Arctic star and his Pacific star.

The medals were earned through hard graft and it’s only right that Edwin is finally receiving the recognition, said Mrs McKenna.

She said: “He travelled the world doing defence or transporting troops. They were never hit, they were constantly defending everything.”

There is space on Mr Leadbetter’s suit jacket for one more - the medal he earned for escorting Soviet Naval commander Gordey Levchenko from Russia back to Scotland.

Mrs McKenna realised her father was due the Norwegian medal when she found mention of it in a newspaper.

She said: “I thought, I’m sure my dad was out in Norway. So I got a list printed off the internet and I thought maybe my Dad’s due that.”

He was and within weeks of writing to the Norwegian Embassy in London she had received a reply, telling her to expect a visit from officials just 14 days later.

After initially contacting the Russian Embassy a number of years ago, Mrs McKenna decided to take matters into her own hands in a bid to speed up the delivery of her father’s final medal - his failing memory in mind. 

She penned a letter to Putin directly, appealing to his sentimental side after looking up his official address online.

She said: “I thought. I don’t care, I’m going to do it. I said it would be really good if he was presented with it while he’s got the capacity to understand what it’s all about.”

She knows the Russian president has taken delivery of her letter, as she paid £6 to have it tracked and signed.

She’s sure her appeal will hit its mark.

She said: “For all his front, I think there’s a heart in there. 

“It would be the ultimate achievement in many ways because I’ve never been so forward in my life.”

She added that she is proud of her father and his impressive achievements. 

She said: “He was such a hard worker all his life, obviously keeping all the family.

“I didn’t realise how important he was. I just thought he was a typical dad.”