Saturday, 24 April 2010

Arctic convoy veterans honoured

Scots former seafarers presented with commemorative medals by Russian consul

Published in the P&J on the 24th. A friend of mine from John O'Groats and Arctic Convoy Veteran Sandy Manson is pictured here receiving his medal to commemorate the victory of the Allies in the 65th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, WW2. Russian Consul General to Scotland, Sergey Krutikov, also pictured bowing after presenting the medal.

By Karl Mansfield
Published: 24/04/2010

RECOGNITION: William Bannerman, left, from Glasgow, and Jock Dempster, from Dunbar, proudly show their medals.

Scottish veterans who served in the Arctic convoys to Russia during World WarII have been presented with commemorative medals.

The Merchant Navy helped transport vital supplies from Orkney to Russia while under attack from German submarines and aircraft.

A total of 26 veterans were presented with the medal yesterday to mark the 65th anniversary of the end of the conflict in Europe.

Jock Dempster, from Dunbar, East Lothian, was in a convoy to Russia in 1944 aboard an oil tanker sailing to Murmansk.

Mr Dempster, who is 81 and chairman of the Russian Arctic Convoy Club Scotland, said: “This event marks a very special day for us. The longstanding bond of friendship which existed between the Russian people and the veterans during the war has become even stronger since.

“The medal is much appreciated for adding formal recognition of the critical role we played in shipping vital supplies to Murmansk and Archangel. The medals will be treasured by the veterans and passed on with pride to their children.
“The Russians have never forgotten the ultimate sacrifice made by the 2,800 seamen who never returned to our shores.”

Sergey Krutikov, Russia’s consul-general in Edinburgh, presented the medals at Merchants’ Hall in the city.

He said: “It is a great honour for me to carry out the wishes of the president of the Russian Federation and the supreme commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces and present these medals to the British Russian convoy veterans.

“The Russians, like the British, have the same warm feelings for their veterans. Today we are honouring those who fought our common enemy and did everything possible to achieve our great victory.

“The presentation of the 65th anniversary medals is a sign of appreciation for the heroic deeds performed by Russian convoy veterans during the tough years of war.”
Rob Gibson represented the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

The SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands said: “The presentation of medals was a poignant event.

“It recalls the few who survive today of the brave men of the Navy and merchant service who sailed into the teeth of war in all its fury on the most dangerous convoys of the war.

“These brave men delivered the war materials for Russia to defeat fascism along with the western allies.

“Today, we are building new friendships and economic relations with Russia on the basis of solidarity in past crises. Russia greatly values its veterans. So do we in Scotland.”

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