AMBULANCE chiefs are to apologise to a 97-year-old war hero who waited more than three hours in pain for help to arrive after breaking his hip.

Commander John Lorimer, thought to be the last survivor of one of the most courageous raids of the second world war, is understood to have suffered a fall at his home on Saturday.

However it was three and a half hours before the ambulance turned up to take the great grandfather to hospital. The Royal Navy Veteran is said to have undergone emergency surgery on his hip on Monday.

At the age of 21, her was part of the 12th Submarine Flotilla - also known as the ‘midget submariners’ - which carried out a successful attack on the German battleship Tirpitz in September 1943. The operation saved the lives of tens of thousands of merchant seamen and reshaped the future of the war.

Read more: Glasgow remembers those who died in armed forces

He spent 18 months in a German Prisoner of War camp before returning to Scotland in late 1945, where he was reunited with his wife Judith.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said it would be carrying out a full inquiry into the “fully circumstances of the delay” which was condemned by Labour’s Monica Lennon and came two days before the country marked Armistice Day.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “It’s upsetting to hear that anyone in severe pain has been made to wait hours for an ambulance, least of all a 97-year-old veteran who has served his country and paid his dues to society.

“It’s right that the ambulance service has recognised that this is not acceptable but the real apology should be coming from Nicola Sturgeon.

“Her decisions and record in government have left our NHS and emergency services struggling to cope.”

Ambulance staff have a eight minute target to respond to the most serious emergencies, while other calls are triaged depending on the level of need.

Read more: New degree for paramedics launched at universities in Glasgow

Commander Lorimer lives in KirkMichael in South Ayrshire, where his son Patrick is also based.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We will be looking into this matter thoroughly and will contact this patient directly to apologise and to discuss the circumstances surrounding this delay.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson added:“We were very sorry to hear about the delay experienced by Mr Lorimer and understand the ambulance service will be investigating this delay and contacting him directly.

“Despite continuous increased demand, our ambulance crews reached 73% of patients with immediately life threatening conditions in under 10 minutes and 95% within 20 minutes across the whole of Scotland in 2018-19 – and continue to save more lives year on year.

The Tirpitz was the largest battleship ever built in Europe and the pride of the German fleet.

Those involved in Operation Source were not expect to return home.

The commanding officers, Donald Cameron and Godfrey, were awarded the Victoria Cross, while Commander Lorimer was given a Distinguished Service Order (DSO) by George VI.

The official report said the attack “will surely go down in history as one of the most courageous acts of all time” and was re-created in the 1955 film Above Us the Waves.