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Russians Honour Veterans For 'Worst Journey In The World'

World War II veterans from Greater Manchester awarded Russian medal for their role in the Arctic Convoy

Written by . Published on October 13th 2014.

Russians Honour Veterans For 'Worst Journey In The World'

IT WAS a journey described by Winston Churchill as 'the worst journey in the world'.

Now seven decades later, 70 Greater Manchester veterans are to be presented with the Ushakov Medal at a Town Hall on Monday 13 October for their role in the Arctic Convoy.

“It is a privilege to see these gallant men receive the Ushakov Medal, we should all feel proud that so many veterans of the Arctic Convoy live here in and around Manchester"

The Arctic Convoy delivered over four million tons of supplies to Russia, including aircraft, tanks, trucks and trains, during the Second World War. 78 convoys travelled from Britain around northern Norway to the Soviet ports of Mumansk and Archangel between 1941 and 1945.

Arctic ConvoyArctic Convoy - 'the worst journey in the world'

The convoy was under constant threat of attack from German U-boats and aircraft, as well as having to negotiate storms and ice flows while battling through sub-zero temperatures - 'the worst journey in the world'.

By May 1945, the route had claimed 104 merchant and sixteen military vessels. According to the Imperial War Museum, "The loss rate for ships was higher than any other allied convoy route."

Around 3,000 British sailors lost their lives.

Ushakov MedalUshakov Medal

The Ushakov Medal the Greater Manchester veterans shall receive - named after one of Russia's most celebrated admirals - is one of the highest honours the country can bestow.

In May 2012 the Russian Embassy wrote to survivors stating it intended to award them the honour. However, the move was blocked by the Foreign Officer as rules declared soldiers could not receive a medal from a foreign nation if the 'act happened more than five years ago'.

After campaigning on behalf of the sailors, in 2013 the Foreign Office issued an 'exception to the rules' and Russian President Vladimir Putin presented the first medals during a June 2013 visit to London.

Artic ConvoyArtic Convoy - chipping away the ice on board

Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Sue Cooley said:

“We can not underestimate the hardship endured by the men who took part in the Arctic Convoy and their courageous achievements helped bring about the end of the worst conflict in history.

“It is a privilege to see these gallant men receive the Ushakov Medal, we should all feel proud that so many veterans of the Arctic Convoy live here in and around Manchester, no honour is too great to reflect their bravery and determination."
Approximately 70 veterans are expected to be presented with the Ushakov Medal at 1.30pm in the Great Hall, Manchester Town Hall on Monday 13 October.

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18 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

Nice touch. It's a bit late though.

Janice TattersallOctober 13th 2014.

Lovely.....but how did they get around the fact that the Foreign Office originally blocked it ????

1 Response: Reply To This...
David BlakeOctober 13th 2014.

Sorry Janice, a paragraph went missing there. All changed now. Thanks.

WayneOctober 13th 2014.

I love Russia

9 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

Yes aren't their homophobic laws wonderful and their invading neighbours. Not to mention until Hitler invaded Russia they were on the same side as the Getmans in the war.

rinkydinkOctober 13th 2014.

If you mean the banning of 'promoting' homosexuality, don't forget that even in this great country a similar law existed until only 11 years ago en.m.wikipedia.org/…/Section_28…. At least it only lasted 15 years though... How any country or indeed any person can discriminate on this basis in this day and age is beyond me

Shabba WanksOctober 13th 2014.

Bloody Getmans.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

Yes that was nice of the Tories introducing that hated law and bitterly resisting its repeal.

rinkydinkOctober 13th 2014.

... but then introduced gay marriage. Quite an about-turn. Although like most equality laws, it would have been forced on them by the EU if they hadn't acted first. The good old EU!

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

You can spot the sad old leftists with their nostalgia for the USSR.It must have broke their hearts when the wall came down.To bad that the people of Eastern Europe preferred freedom and democracy. Now they turn a blind eye to the imperial ambitions of Putin,the suppression of a free press with the murder and intimidation of journalists.They excuse the vicious anti gay laws,by talking about what gay rights used to be in the UK decades ago.These communist fellow travellers have and never had any patriotism for their country Great Britain,they don't recognise the social achievement of this country and would rather chain it to the E U.Top down social control by those who know best is what they want,their values have and never will represent those of the British working class,who in their hearts they really despise.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

^ yes dear.

rinkydinkOctober 14th 2014.

Think he's been on the bottle again

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

Hmmm...at that point Rinkydink I was expecting you to agree with the anti-communist rant and culminate it with shouts if "U.S.A". I am disappointed in you.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

I think the Polish government should honour the U.K. and retrospectively thank the handful of men in Neville Chamberlain's government for forcing this country to go to war because Poland was invaded.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

Poland the country that Nazi Germany and Stalin agreed to carve up between them.The country that was 'liberated' by USSR and denied its freedom and liberty.It was Britain who betrayed the Polish people by letting them lose their freedom to the totalitarian,mass murderering communist Stalin in 1945. Tbe Polish people fought from the beginning to the end on our side,unlike the Russians.

AnonymousOctober 13th 2014.

'It was Britain who betrayed the Polish people by letting them lose their freedom...'? After six years of fighting around the world, you're suggesting the U.K. armed forces [and not its allies] push on through Soviet occupied Germany and attack the Soviet army in Poland? Bizarre! As I said, the Polish government should honour the U.K. and retrospectively thank the handful of men in Neville Chamberlain's government for forcing this country to go to war because Poland was invaded. Unless of course you'd have preferred the U.K. not to have been forced into a war by going to the aide of Poland and instead have stayed neutral up until the Nazis inevitably tried to starve the U.K. by using U-Boats and surface ships to surround our islands? The Slavic people are untermensch and we're best leaving them to peasant each other out.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

Britain was obliged by treaty to come to Poland defence,they were not forced. I strongly object to your equation of Poland and Russia,as if the Poles should be equally grateful.Many of the Poles fought for this country,after they were occupied by the Germans and Russian.They never were on the opposite side like the Russian.Russis only fought on our side after the Germans invaded them. Could we have saved the Poles from being occupied?.Probably not.But they paid a far heavier price than people in this country,millions died in concentration camps and mass murder during the German occupation and then there freedom was cruelly stolen again by the USSR.

AnonymousOctober 14th 2014.

'Britain was obliged by treaty...'? A piece of paper meant nothing to Hitler or Stalin. Holland? Belgium? Besides a deal was made in '38 so the PM could have made another one, but with invisible ink to save embarrassment. Feel free to 'strongly object' by the way, as you misunderstood. The Poles should be grateful, end of.

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