A WAR veteran from North Petherton has been awarded a medal by the Russian Federation for his bravery during the dangerous Arctic convoy missions.
Leonard Porter, of Bridgwater Road, received the Ushakov Medal for his bravery and service to Great Britain’s allies during the Second World War in the freezing conditions which Winston Churchill described as “the worst journey in the world”.
Mr Porter, 94, was one of the hundreds of recruits who were responsible for escorting Russian convoys across enemy waters – a dangerous task which saw many men lose their lives.
He spoke to the Mercury about the actions which led to him receiving the prestigious award.
He said: “I remember escorting the merchant ships and Russian convoys across enemy waters while battling with the German convoys; I was about 22 years old at the time.
“We would pick up survivors from the sunken submarines, we had to make sure everyone kept up with the convoys or else they’d be sunk.
“I only try to remember the good times now, like when we used to play cards and have a pint.”
Jennifer Storey, Leonard’s daughter, collected the award on his behalf with husband Phillip from the Russian Embassy in London, on July 24.
Jennifer said: “We went to pick it up for him because he can’t stand for long.
“The medal was presented to us by Ambassador Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko and he also gave a nice speech about how grateful they were and that, without the help of their British allies, the war could have had a different outcome.
“My dad had been expecting the award for a couple of months now and it was an honour for us to collect it for him.
“I’m very proud of my dad and all he’s done and it’s nice to be able to honour his efforts.”
The presentation was delayed as the British Government blocked Russia from awarding medals to British troops until June this year.