TRIBUTES have poured in for a Chaddesley Corbett World War Two pilot who has died at the age of 101.

Eric Carter served in the RAF during the war and took part in a secret mission for Winston Churchill in Russia.

He lived in Chaddesley Corbett before spending his final days at Lapal House Residential Home in Halesowen.

The home said on Facebook Mr Carter was “our hero” following the news of his death.

Paying tribute to Mr Carter, Tony Billingham, owner of the home, said: “All the staff loved him, he was a wonderful person, a character. We are sad to lose him, he will be much missed."

Mr Carter was the last surviving member of a secret RAF squadron which was tasked to protect the port of Murmansk in Russia in 1941.

Speaking in 2014, Mr Carter described the secret mission as “hell on earth”.

He said: "We were told to hold Murmansk at all costs. It was hell on earth there - we were bombed and strafed daily by the Germans.

"But I shot down quite a number of Messerschmitt 109s in dog fights and Murmansk never did fall."

Mr Carter, who spent about nine months posted in Russia as part of his seven years in the RAF, said: "It was top secret because Stalin did not want his people to know he had asked Churchill for help and, if Murmansk fell, Hitler would have been able to turn all his forces on Britain.

"It was many years later before we were allowed to talk about what we'd done."

Mr Carter, who previously lived in Chaddesley Corbett, served in the RAF until 1946. In 2014 he received the Arctic Star British medal and the Ushakov medal at the Russian Embassy in London.

Later in life, the RAF hero escorted the Queen in 1994 on the first state visit to Moscow since the Russian Revolution and a year later he visited Lenin’s tomb with John Major to honour the dead.

He also featured in a book called Force Benedict - with a foreword by TV presenter Dermot O'Leary - about how Churchill secretly dispatched the operation to defend the only Russian port not under Nazi occupation.