Two Padiham veterans to be honoured by Russian government for role in Second World War (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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Two Padiham veterans to be honoured by Russian government for role in Second World War
TWO Padiham veterans are to be honoured by the Russian government for their role in the Arctic convoys during the Second World War.
Jack Ormerod, of Fairweather Court, and Jim Bates, of St Leonard’s Street, have been nominated for the Ushakov Medal.
The seamen have had to wait more than 70 years to be recognised for their efforts.
Between 1941 and 1945, British warships escorted 78 convoys carrying thousands of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, trucks and tanks, fuel, food, tools and other vital supplies through the Barents Sea.
The voyage to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk was described by Winston Churchill as ‘the worst journey in the world’.
Mr Bates joined the Royal Navy aged 18 and sailed aboard HMS Wilton.
Now 91, he said: “We’ve had to wait 71 years to be recognised but it should have been done straight after the war.
“I don’t know what’s changed now.
“I recall seeing a lot of terrible things but I remember the cold especially.
“As well as the Arctic, I sailed in convoys to Malta, Sicily and north Africa.
“I served from 1941 to 1946 and I think I have about 10 or 11 medals in total now.“ Earlier this year, Mr Bates, now president of the Burnley and Padiham Royal British Legion, received the Arctic Star from the Ministry of Defence. The Westminster Russia Forum said a list of eligible surviving veterans was being compiled by the Medal Office at the MOD.
A spokesman said: “As soon as the list is complete, it will be sent to Moscow for the consideration of the President of the Russian Federation.
“After the special decree will be signed by the President, medals will be issued and delivered to London.”
The Ushakov Medal was created in 1944 but foreign naval veterans only became eligible for the award in 2012.
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