17 April 2021

Second World War veteran who fought alongside Philip watches funeral in uniform

17 April 2021

A Second World War veteran who fought alongside the Duke of Edinburgh watched the funeral dressed in his Royal Navy uniform in tribute.

Malcolm Clerc, 94, watched the historic event on television at his home in Knutsford, Cheshire, on Saturday.

Mr Clerc joined the Royal Navy aged 15 and served as a petty officer stationed in Guam, a US island territory in the western Pacific.

His daughter, Sally Clerc, 54, said he met Philip on several occasions during the Second World War and at events ever since.

Malcolm Clerc, 94, watching the funeral on tv (PA Wire)

She told the PA news agency: “He was on the ship with Philip Mountbatten, as he would have been called then, they spent some time together.

“They shared a couple of interesting experiences over that time.”

Ms Clerc said her father had been at Tokyo Bay with Philip when the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.

Relaying one of Mr Clerc’s greatest memories of the duke, his daughter said: “There was a photographer taking pictures and he gave him (Philip) the bulb from the camera as a souvenir.

“They relived that memory when my nephew picked up his Duke of Edinburgh Award, and he asked him if he still has it and he said yes.”

Mr Clerc served in the Arctic convoys during the war which provided supplies to the Soviet Union by sea, with the route taking them around Norway to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel – a journey described by Sir Winston Churchill as “the worst in the world”.

“He was one of the youngest on the convoys,” Ms Clerc said.

“He gave many years of service to the Second World War and afterwards.

“He loves any opportunity to wear his uniform and show off his medals, he’s a patriotic person.”

Philip had a close connection with the Navy for more than 80 years, having enrolled at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth aged 17, served at sea during the Second World War and later held numerous honorary ranks.

Ms Clerc said her father thought Philip’s funeral service was “very him”, adding: “It reflected his personality.

“He liked Prince Philip, thought he was a cheeky chappy, a bit like my dad.

“He has a lot of respect for him.”

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