Medal from Russia for Arctic hero

A Clipstone Second World War navy veteran who braved subzero temperatures and enemy attacks during the conflict has been awarded a medal by the Russian Government.

Reg Taylor was the prestigious Ushakov Medal for his service aboard ships in the Arctic Convoys - the dangerous missions that saw merchant and Navy ships brave freezing cold seas to take supplies to Russia during the Second World War.

Reg, 89 was sent the medal - a state decoration of the Russian Federation in the post recently.

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He said; “It’s a beautiful medal with a certificate signed on behalf of President Putin. I am very proud to wear it.”

He has it on display alongside his British campaign medals, the Atlantic Star, Burmah Star and Arctic Star medals. The Arctic star recognising the Arctic convoys was belatedly added in February 2013, more than sixty-seven years after the end of the war.

Mr Taylor of Eastfield Close was only 17 when he volunteered for the Royal Navy 1943.

“The Russian convoys were terrible - we lost 36 ships on one run, he said. “You couldn’t stop and pick anyone up or the Germans would sink you.

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“The U Boats would come up underneath us and get amongst us.”

An able seaman on board the then new destroyer HMS Vigilant, he spent his 18th birthday above the Arctic circle on his first trip to Russia.

He said: “The ship was covered in thick ice - we had to chop it off and it was so cold you burned your finger if you touched anything. If it hadn’t been for the Russian Convoys, Russia would have fallen.”

Mr Taylor is a veteran of several campaigns. He was also involved in the D-Day landings minesweeping before the invasion started - and his ship was sent to Ceylon to fight the Japanese Navy.