A sailor from Northampton, who escorted ammunition on one of the last Arctic Convoys, has finally received a medal to recognise his efforts.
Ken Swann, of Waverley Road, Kingsley, is the latest Royal Navy veteran to be awarded the Arctic Star, almost 70 years after the deeds that earned it.
His ship, the HMS Lancaster Castle, completed one return journey to Russia in 1943, carrying vital supplies across the Arctic Ocean to keep Stalin’s troops in the war on the side of the Aliies.
Mr Swann, aged 86, said: “We did the very last convoy to Murmansk, carrying ammunition that they needed, as well as tanks and planes.
“I understand from research I’ve done since that the Russian soldiers may have used it to fight off Germans near Moscow. It was an important convoy, in that sense.”
Arctic Convoy veterans had not received a medal from the British Government for the their bravery until this year.
Critics have labelled the omissions particularly harsh considering the treacherous conditions the sailors endured.
Mr Swann said: “I was the lookout and I remember on one accasion putting my binoculars to my eyes and holding them too close. My eyelashes stuck to the metal rims and I ended up with no eyelashes.
“Apart from the cold we were always in danger from enemy submarines, so they were very dangerous journeys.”
On the delay in getting his Arctic Star, Mr Swann, who has received a number of anniversary medals from the Russian government in the intervening years, said: “I’ll wear mine proudly on November 11, but it’s a shame for those who have died since the war that they never got the chance to hand theirs to their grandchildren.
“Family members receiving it now is one thing, but it’s come a bit too late for many sailors who risked their lives.”