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Arctic Convoy heroes receive medals on HMS Belfast—65 years on

PUBLISHED: 12:36 22 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 October 2010

SURVIVORS from the Arctic convoys in the Second World War are being presented with medals in London as a special thank you’ by the Russians. The Kremlin presents the medals on board HMS Belfast to the last 14 surviving veterans who ran the gauntlet of Hitler’s blockade

By Mike Brooke

SURVIVORS from the Arctic convoys in the Second World War are being presented with commemorative medals in the Pool of in London as a special thank you’ by the Russians.

The Kremlin’s Presidential State decorations chief Vladimir Osipov presents the medals to the last 14 surviving veterans who ran the gauntlet of Hitler’s blockade to keep the Soviet Allies supplied between 1941 and ’45.

The presentations take place on board HMS Belfast moored near Tower Bridge at 10.45am on Wednesday, the 65th anniversary of VE Day.

HMS Belfast was one of the fleet to make what Winston Churchill called the worst journey in the world’ when the Royal and Canadian Royal navies protected the Merchant Navy convoys around the North Cape of Norway to the northern Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk in sub zero temperatures.

HMS Belfast director Brad King commented: “These commemorative medals celebrate the courage shown by sailors who risked their lives during the Second World War as low as minus 30°C.”

Four million tons of supplies were shipped, including 5,000 tanks and 7,000 aircraft for the Soviet forces fighting German forces on the Eastern Front.

The Artic run took its toll, however, with 3,000 British and Allied sailors losing their lives by the end of 1945 in treacherous Arctic conditions.


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