Watford Arctic Convoy veteran presented with bravery medal at the Russian Embassy, 70 years on

Watford Arctic Convoy veteran presented with bravery medal at the Russian Embassy, 70 years on

Watford Arctic Convoy veteran presented with bravery medal at the Russian Embassy, 70 years on

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A Watford Arctic Convoy veteran who risked life and limb in one of the most dangerous missions of World War Two has been presented with a medal for his bravery 70 years on at the Russian Embassy last week.

Rev Donald Wallace, of Nascott, survived what Winston Churchill called "the worst journey in the world" escorting supply ships across the treacherous icy waters to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel. 

The Arctic Convoy - vital in getting food and ammunition to troops in the blockaded Russia - was continually bombed and attacked by German U-boats, costing more than 3,000 men their lives.

After enormous pressure from the public and several MPs, including Watford’s Richard Harrington, the Government has relented and awarded the Russian Convoy Star to the dwindling number of participating sailors who have survived to old age.

Rev Wallace, 88, who lives in Dellfield Close, received his Arctic Star last year.

He made several journeys across the freezing North Atlantic, serving on frigates and a destroyer.

His convoy had to travel at the speed of the slowest merchant ship, leaving them sitting ducks for enemy forces - which also controlled neighbouring Norway.

But since then the Foreign and Commonwealth Office changed rules stipulating that British veterans could not accept a foreign medal if the act happened more than five years ago - meaning Russia could honour Rev Wallace and other veterans with their own Russian Ushakov medal.

Rev Wallace was greeted by the Russian Ambassador Alexander Vladimirovich at his official home in Kensington Palace Garden on Thursday, August 7.

Before the medals were handed out, the ambassador asked the families and those veterans who still could to stand to hear the Russian and British national anthems. 

Rev Wallace attended the moving ceremony with his wife, Betty.

 

Comments (1)

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9:45am Fri 15 Aug 14

STEPHENDANZIG says...

Congratulations Rev Wallace on receiving your Russian Convoy Star Bravery award, well deserved, but such a shame it took so long to be awarded this recognition, and the brave Sailors that survived these treacherous missions are no longer with us, and didn't receive their
Bravery medals.
Congratulations Rev Wallace on receiving your Russian Convoy Star Bravery award, well deserved, but such a shame it took so long to be awarded this recognition, and the brave Sailors that survived these treacherous missions are no longer with us, and didn't receive their Bravery medals. STEPHENDANZIG
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