Former RN radar operator at the grand age of 75 received a commemorative war medal from the Russian GovernWH Duggan RNment for Arctic duty on the supply runs to Murmansk. Born in the Rhondda in Wales, Haydn came to Methley at the age of 10. He worked at Savile pit on leaving school and joined up with the Royal Navy at the outbreak of war. He was Selected for training on radio direction operations following his experience with Mr Fox on radio repairs. On completion he joined HMS Kent one of two ships equipped with top secret radar equipment. Haydn was on the very first Russian convoy and as a radio operator worked in darkened rooms in the confines of the warship relaying observations to the bridge.
Convoys ran the gauntlet of the U-boats and enemy aircraft and Haydn often saw the aftermath of these raids with wreckage in the Arctic Ocean. HMS Kent did receive one hit and had to stop off for repairs in Iceland, luckily there were no casualties. Other runs were the ‘White Patrol’ to Greenland and the ‘Black Patrol’ to the Faroes. Haydn reported that the Russian people were friendly and grateful for the supplies but it was difficult to strike up real friendships over the language barrier.WHaydn Duggan
On demobilisation, Haydn returned to Methley and Savile pit and later worked on the railways before retirement. He never glamourised the war but added on his return he missed the rum ration on board ship.
Haydn was also awarded the North Atlantic Star which along with the Russian Medal and his service medals formed a treasured collection along with service photos.
Better known in the village as team manager for Methley United AFC after originally playing for Kippax, Haydn was always able to attract talented players to the village side enabling the side to be successful. Evidenced by winning the League during his tenure along with the Embleton and Challenge cups of the Castleford and District throughout the 1950’s.