World heroes who travelled ‘the worst journey in the world’ to resupply Russian soldiers during World War II are being honoured for their valiant efforts at a ceremony in Manchester today.
A special ceremony at Manchester Town Hall sees around 70 veterans awarded with the prestigious Ushakov Medal – one of the highest honours the Russian Federation can bestow.
The war heroes risked their lives when they took part in the Arctic Convoy during World War II to aid the Russians.
Winston Churchill once described the journey as ‘the worst journey in the world’.
Lord Mayor of Manchester Council, Councillor Sue Cooley, said: “We can not underestimate the hardship endured by the men who took part in the Arctic Convoy and their courageous achievements helped bring about the end of the worst conflict in history.”
After Germany invaded the USSR in 1941, allies were called upon to aid the Russians.
The vessels which travelled from Britain to northern Russia resupplied the Russians with arms and food.
More than four million tonnes of supplies were delivered to the Russians.
The journey was described as treacherous since the convoy was under constant threat from German opposition, and weather conditions were amongst the worst faced by Allied fighters.
By May 1945, the Arctic Convoy had claimed 104 merchant and 16 military vessels.
Councillor Sue Cooley added: “It is a privilege to see these gallant men receive the Ushakov Medal.
“We should all feel proud that so many veterans of the Arctic Convoy live here in and around Manchester, no honour is too great to reflect their bravery and determination.”
Image courtesy of Imperial War Museums, with thanks.