Showing posts from October, 2014

Belfast Arctic veterans receive honour from Russian government

This morning, in Belfast, I was privileged to witness veterans of the Arctic Convoys receiving the Ushakov Medal, from Russia’s ambassador to the UK.  This honour is the culmination of a lengthy campaign to recognise the brave servicemen who risked ice floes and U-boat attack, to bring vital supplies to the Soviet Union, during World War 2. 
The British government presented veterans with the Arctic Star, belatedly, in 2012.  Before that, rather shamefully, there was no medal for taking part in the convoys. 
It also took some time before the Foreign Office would allow the Russian government to show its appreciation for the servicemen.  The Medal of Ushakov was first presented to British sailors in June 2013, when Vladimir Putin and David Cameron conducted a ceremony, during the Russian President’s visit to London.
Most of the surviving seamen who crewed the convoys are now in their nineties.  The event in Belfast was a poignant occasion, with many proud family members in attendance,…