Arctic Convoy war heroes receive medals
Two old schoolmates were among seven Second World War veterans receiving medals for service, more than 70 years after their heroic efforts in the Arctic Convoys.
William Spencer Balmforth (95) from Burnley, Denis Macro (89), of Colne, and old schoolmates Edward John Shipley (91), also from Colne, and Robert Alwyn Taylor (92), of Trawden, all received the Ushakov medal in person from Lisa Vokorina and Sergey Belyakov, two Russian Embassy attachés, at a special presentation at Colne Legion Club.
John Emmott and Robert Jackson, late of Colne, and Jack Tempest, late of Nelson, were presented with medals posthumously and family members were invited to collect their respective honours.
The Arctic Convoys saw about 1,400 merchant ships deliver essential supplies to the Soviet Union in World War Two under the Lend-Lease programme, escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and the US Navy.
With the presentation so close to VE Day, each veteran also received a Russian peace medal for their actions more than seven decades ago.
Secretary of the Skipton and District Royal Naval Association, Alan Hague, said he was “thrilled” the veterans were finally decorated after offering to help anybody in Pendle or Burnley due an Ushakov medal.
Mr Hague said: “It was absolutely tremendous and a very good day. The Royal Naval Association call was made more in hope than certainty so this is an excellent result.
“Everybody enjoyed themselves and the main thing for us was seeing seven people get medals who wouldn’t nearly have got them so quickly.
“Mrs Vokorina is superb and very down to earth. She received a bunch of flowers in the Russian colours of red, white and blue from the veterans.
“They were delighted and it was extremely worthwhile as far as we are concerned.”