September 20 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
An Arctic Convoy war hero is yet to receive his Ushakov medal to honour his heroics on hellish Russian convoy missions.
Richard Gould, 93, from Downham Market, traveled back and forth on the Royal Navy battleship HMS Howe, to Murmansk in Northen Russia, for 10 months escorting merchant ships.
The medal recognises the efforts made by the British to deliver goods to Soviet forces, defying German submarines.
Until last year, Foreign and Commonwealth Office rules stated that British veterans could not receive a foreign medal if the act they honoured happened more than five years ago.
Last year however, the British government gave Arctic Star medals to convoy veterans, before a decision was made to allow veterans to receive the Ushakov medal 70 years on.
While medals are now being dealt out, the Russian Embassy has yet to comment on how many medals need to be awarded or how long it will take.
Mr Gould said: “I am not getting any younger now, I am pretty much in God’s hands now.
The Embassy gave me a letter in October 2012 thanking me for my heroism and that felt like a medal.
But it would be lovely to get a call to go and get the real thing while I am alive.”
Mr Gould was on the HMS Fiji which was sunk by the Germans in the Battle of Crete in May 1941, before boarding the HMS Howe in August 1942.
The ship supported Russian convoys while the Bismarck’s sister ship, the Tirpitz, was out lurking nearby in the Norwegian Fjords.
Mr Gould took part in the invasion of Sicily in 1943 and survived German bombing, again in Portsmouth.
In March 1946 he was released from the navy after five years service.
He said: “I have seen destruction beyond human comprehension in my life, at times I feel like I had nine lives.
“To survive and be alive at 93 is something I am very grateful for.”