War veterans praised by President Vladimir Putin could be in line for Russian medals
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 July 2013
WAR veterans from Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar, who served in one of the most inhospitable theatres of World War Two, could now be in line for top military gongs from Russia.
The war heroes, who were recently awarded the Arctic Star by the British Government after nearly 70 years’ of waiting, served on the dreaded Arctic Convoys.
The mission saw them taking arms and other supplies to the Russians to help in their battle against the Nazis, and meant traversing seas infested with U-boats in freezing conditions.
Welwyn man Arthur Knight is in the process of applying for the Russia-issued Ushakov Medal, after receiving his Arctic Star.
He said: “The next saga is the Ushakov Medal.
“Our government refused to allow the Russians to present it to us and allow us to wear it.
“You will have seen in the national press that they have now relented and I am now busy finding out how to receive it.”
Another veteran, Ernest Payne, of Chequers, WGC, said: “I did [apply] originally then they said that they weren’t going to let them dish them out.
“I wrote to them weeks ago and I’ve had no reply.
“Obviously it would be nice.”
Reginald Young, of Home Ley, WGC, has already been awarded a medal by the Russians – the 40th Anniversary Victory Medal, 1945-1985 – but is unsure whether he will apply for the Ushakov Medal.
And Fred Ramage, of Sunnybank Road, Potters Bar, said: “The Russian government said that they wanted to give medals, which prompted the British government to give [Arctic Star] medals.
“It would be very nice to get thanks from the Russian government.”
The 89-year-old former destroyer lead stoker added: “I am definitely interested.”
On a visit to the UK ahead of last month’s G8 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin, said of Arctic Convoys veterans: “In Russia we try to treat those who contributed to the victory over the Nazi Germany with special attention and respect, and we have governmental programmes to support and back our veterans in Russia.
“This is why we want to pay tribute to everybody who contributed to that victory, including our allies.
“Therefore, we feel special respect for you and for your comrades in arms.”
He added: “You and your comrades in arms demonstrated unparalleled heroism during that struggle and you instilled in everybody’s minds hope that the victory over the Nazis was coming soon.”