A group of WWII veterans has been awarded the Russian Ushakov medal at an event in Doncaster, Lincolnshire County. The veterans, who are all now in their nineties, were awarded the Russian medal for their service on the hazardous Arctic convoys during World War II.
They were then invited to a lunch held in the mayor’s parlour at Grimsby Town Hall, where they had tea and cakes with the mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Cliff Barber, and told him stories about their experiences on the dangerous voyages they took part in, during the war.
Between 1941 and 1945 the veterans endured freezing weather conditions and the continual threat of bombardment from German torpedoes on board the Arctic convoys, which were responsible for delivering supplies to Soviet forces. The convoy’s journeys were considered so treacherous that Winston Churchill referred to each of the missions as “the worst journey in the world”.Many thousands of sailors died during these hazardous journeys.
One of the veterans, 95-year-old Sidney Lewis, took part in 13 of the convoys and said they were not adventures that he would want to repeat. “We never stopped”, he said. “Day after day there were bombardments and torpedoes. The Destroyers were workhorses. They never stopped at all. I wouldn’t want to go through that again. That’s why you feel proud to still be here getting this award.”