Blackpool war hero Eric is honoured by US President

Eric Scotson  pictured with his family
Eric Scotson pictured with his family

A ‘local lad’ who devoted his life to the army has been celebrated - by the President of the United States.

Blackpool serviceman Eric Scotson has been awarded a certificate of appreciation by US President Barack Obama himself – three years after he died from stomach and liver cancer, aged 84.

Eric Scotson during the Korean War

Eric Scotson during the Korean War

Father-of-five Eric spent his childhood at his family home on Bloomfield Road before joining the army at just 16-years-old. He went on to serve in 11 countries including Palestine and Kenya.

His nephew Phil Prior, 49, who still lives in Blackpool, said: “I think it’s absolutely amazing. Considering he’s gone from Blackpool to New Zealand to America, and being buried with a commendation from the President himself - he’s not done bad for a local lad!”

Eric left the British army and set a course for America following the tragic death of a close friend during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya,

As a member of the US army, he was posted to Korea, where he narrowly dodged death after being shot in the stomach by an enemy soldier.

Who wouldn’t be proud to be appreciated by a President

In a letter addressed to his younger sister Ila in 1952, Eric wrote: “I have been here for a long time now, but it won’t be too long before I go back to America. I was wounded twice last June and July but I am very well now.

“Try to write me a little letter if you can. It will only cost a shilling for one letter.”

In 1972 he moved to New Zealand, where he met his wife Angela.

Ten years later he became the face of famous anti-war song Stop The Calvary by Jona Lewie, after a photograph of him as a young man in the Korean War featured in the music video.

Nephew Phil Prior with the USA award

Nephew Phil Prior with the USA award

He retired to Hamilton in the Waikato region of New Zealand in 1988, and died in late 2013 after a long battle with cancer.

Now his distinguished military career has been posthumously celebrated with a framed award signed by President Barack Obama, which reads: “This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States”.

The award will be passed on to Phil’s 11-year-old daughter Amara.

Phil said: “Eric was a lovely guy. He modelled himself on the famous actors of the time, and was very suave. I’m sure he’d be extremely proud of himself.

“Who wouldn’t be proud to be appreciated by a President?

“He was Amara’s last great uncle so her great auntie Angela wanted her to have the award to keep him close.

“Something like that should be kept in the family forever and never thrown away or sold.

“It does mean something to have it here because Blackpool is where he lived with my grandparents, so for it to be back here is quite special.”