Ex-sailor gets surprise visit by Russian consul at Northampton home to present medal

WWII vet Kenneth Swann was presented with a medal by the Russian ambassador who turned up at his door in Northampton. NNL-160127-114930009

WWII vet Kenneth Swann was presented with a medal by the Russian ambassador who turned up at his door in Northampton. NNL-160127-114930009

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A Russian consul turned up at a Northampton ex-sailor’s door to present him with a bravery medal.

Ken Swann, aged 89, from Kingsley, helped escort ammunition on one of the last Arctic Convoys of World War Two, braving almost intolerable cold and constant danger from the enemy all the way to Russia and back.

For his bravery he is entitled the prestigious Ushakov medal from the Russian government but had heard nothing from them six months after applying.

But this week he was left open-mouthed when a Russian consul turned up at his home and proceeded to conduct the medal ceremony in his front room.

Mr Swann said: “He stood over near the TV and gave a speech about how grateful the Russian people were for what we did. Then he said ‘I hereby present you with the Ushakov medal’.

“I thought I was dreaming. I was gobsmacked”

His ship, the HMS Lancaster Castle, completed one return journey to Russia, carrying vital supplies across the Arctic Ocean to keep Stalin’s troops in the war on the side of the Allies.

Temperatures were so cold that ice had to be hacked of the vessel every five minutes to stop it capsizing

Mr Swann said he was very pleased and proud to be recognised again with the Ushakov medal, which can now be worn with his British ones, including the recently awarded Arctic Star.

He said: “I’d like to thank my good friend Nick Phillips and Michael Ellis MP for taking this up on my behalf.”