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My father Cecil Bridgen was a deck officer in the Port Line, from cadet in the mid-1930s to 1st Lieutenant by 1945, serving much of WW2 on the Port Chalmers. He died in 1960 after a long battle with cancer, when I was in my early teens and my sisters were younger. Our parent's or any older generation in the family had all died by our early adulthood, so we only have scattered memories of our father, and no-one to ask who knew him. We have few mementoes, but my younger sister has the incomplete set of his war medals, and his complete row of miniatures. These include the 1939-45 Star and the Atlantic Star, as one might expect, but also the Africa Star and the Burma Star. We are mystified about why these last two medals would have been awarded to our father, but assume that they must arise from his service aboard the Port Chalmers. Can anyone offer any useful information, or suggest relevant directions of enquiry? We would be very grateful if anyone can help.
 

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Hi,
Cecil Bridgen, according to his medal entitlement was awarded the following:
1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Pacific Star with Clasp and the War Medal. Anyone who qualified for both the Pacific Star and the Burma Star would be awarded the first Star earned. A Clasp would be worn to signify service for the other Star. So he earned the Pacific Star first then would have seen service in the Burma theatre and for that service he would have received the clasp.

There are a few ways to verify his service the first being to contact the Registry of Shipping and Seamen in Cardiff, UK and quote his medal file reference 7,237 and ask them.
Medals were not issued without the recipient being fully entitled and proof of service would always be needed. Even today there are still outstanding medal claims for WW2 seamen whose medals were never issued or claimed and their next of kin apply for them but the criteria requires details of his service record as well as details of the ship movments before a claim will be upheld. That proof has to be provided by the enquirer.

So you would need a list of all his wartime ships which you would get from his discharge book if you have it. Failing that you could get his CRS 10 - service record beginning Jan, 1941 until leaving the service. This would list all his ships. Then you would check where the ships went in that period. There are official movement cards you can get online at Kew for free if you log in.
You can also use online sites such as Arnold Hague Ports database so you have a few options.
Any questions - please feel free.
I hope that helps
Regards
Hugh
 
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