War hero Jack presented with Russian medal for undertaking ‘worst journey on Earth’

Jack Ormerod with MP Julie Cooper and Padiham Mayor Jean Cuningham (s)
Jack Ormerod with MP Julie Cooper and Padiham Mayor Jean Cuningham (s)

A 93-year-old Padiham war veteran has been awarded a prestigious military medal from Russia.

Mr Jack Ormerod was finally awarded the Ushakov medal, for services to the former Soviet Union, at his nursing home in Padiham surrounded by more than 30 friends, family members and invited guests.

Mr Ormerod, who had served as part of the Arctic Convoy in the Second World War, was awarded the accolade from the Russian Government for his part in transporting supplies to Russia, which the embassy states allowed Russian soldiers to defeat the Germans.

During his time on the North Sea in the harshest of conditions, Mr Ormerod and his fellow servicemen had to deal with severe storms, icy temperatures, ice floes and the constant threat of attack from German aircraft and U-boats.

During one journey, described by Churchill as being the “worst journey on Earth,” he was injured and forced to return home. He said: “I feel proud and humble to receive this medal but I especially think about all of those who died during and since the war, who will never receive it.” Mr Ormerod went on to delight visitors with tales of his adventures.

MP Julie Cooper said: “My office received a letter from the Embassy asking us to help track down a man who had been a veteran in the Artic Convoy. Obviously we were keen to make sure that the medal reached its deserving recipient. Unfortunately, Mr Ormerod was not able to make the journey to London to collect his medal and the Embassy would not send it by post, so he asked whether I would collect it on his behalf. Of course I was delighted to agree.”

Mr Ormerod, of Fairweather Court, was presented with his medal by the Mayor of Padiham, Coun. Jean Cunningham, and received a personal letter of thanks from the Russian president.