Chesterfield's Arctic heroes awarded Russian medal
Two Chesterfield seamen have been awarded a medal by the Russian Federation for the heroic role they played in the Arctic convoys during the Second World War.
Douglas Fogg, 96, and Albert Wilson, 92, were both presented with the Ushakov medal by embassy attaché, Oleg Shor, on Monday June 20.
Both men served on the Arctic convoys in the 1940s, guarding the supply ships which enabled the Soviet army to hold out and eventually defeat the Nazis.
The letter that accompanies the medal says: “It is a huge privilege for me to thank you on behalf of the Russian government for the invaluable contribution you and your comrades-in-arms made to the defeat of Nazi Germany.
“Your heroism will always be remembered in Russia and Britain. Your deed will continue to serve as the supreme expression of bravery and a high point in human spirit.”
Douglas, who lives on Grindlow Avenue in Chesterfield, served as chief stoker on the HMS Punjabi, a destroyer which escorted merchant ships travelling to the USSR.
His daughter, Madaline Makarem, said: “He is very, very honoured and proud to win such a prestigious medal.
“He has always told me it was extremely cold and that he felt lucky to have survived.
“One of his friends died after they swapped shifts and he was above deck when he should have been below - he talks about that quite a lot.”
Albert, who lives on Derby Road in Old Tupton served on aircraft carrier, HMS Activity, and the corvette, Bamburgh Castle, taking part in 15 of the 16 convoys which took place.
Albert’s son, Andrew, said: “He was just 19 or 20 when he started on the convoys - these were very young men.
“He has often talked about the cold, the severe seas and the sheer shock of being attacked.
“He tells one story about his captain swerving at the last minute to avoid a torpedo that was coming towards them.”
More than 3,000 Allied sailors perished in the icy waters during the convoys, which Prime Minister Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’.
Both men have already been awarded the Arctic Star by our Government, and now have its Russian equivalent.