Presentation of Russia’s Ushakov Medal to the Scottish veterans of World War II Arctic Convoys
Issued by the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh
Four major Ushakov Medal presentation ceremonies will be held across Scotland by the Consulate General of Russia in Edinburgh just days before the Remembrance Sunday to enable most of the veterans to wear their medals at the Parades on Remembrance Sunday.
The ceremonies dates are:
Thursday, 6 November – Edinburgh (St Mary‘s Cathedral (Episcopal), 14.00)
Friday, 7 November – Glasgow (Glasgow City Chambers, 12.00)
Saturday, 8 November – Aberdeen (Aberdeen Town House, 11.00),
Saturday, 8 November – Inverness (Inverness Town House, 15.30) hosted by the Provost of Inverness Councillor Alex Graham.
The medals will be presented by the Consul General of Russia in Edinburgh Mr Andrey Pritsepov. The ceremonies will also be attended by the local authorities and the Royal Navy.
Decoration for the veterans of the Arctic Convoys
According to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation No 131 of 10 March 2014, the Medal is awarded to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys ‘for personal courage and valour shown during World War II while participating in the Arctic Convoys'.
With more than 3 thousand veterans receiving this Medal in the United Kingdom, 214 medals will be awarded in Scotland.
For Scotland this story is particularly important as many convoys sailed from Loch Ewe while Naval escorts were sailing from Scapa Flow (there are now Arctic Convoys memorials at both locations where Russian Consulate General lays wreaths annually; Russian Arctic Convoys Museum was also opened recently in Inverasdale on the shores of Loch Ewe).
The Arctic Convoys
During the Convoys (1941-1945) British Merchant Navy along with Russian, American, Norwegian, Dutch and other merchant fleets was delivering important supplies to the Soviet Union and to the United Kingdom, mainly between ports of Scotland, Iceland and Northern Russia. The escort was provided by the Russian Navy, the Royal Navy, and other allied Navies.
The first Convoy travelled to Archangel on August 1941 (Operation ‘Dervish’; sometimes this name is mistakenly attributed to all the Convoys, yet, each journey was an individual operation with its one code name). In total, 78 Convoys sailed to and from Russia between August 1941 and 1945.
The Arctic Convoys were called ‘the worst journey in the world’ by Winston Churchill. Extremely difficult natural conditions of Circumpolar navigation combined with sophisticated and determined efforts of the German Navy and Air Forces.
To appreciate fully importance of the sailors’ sacrifices it is also worth mention that supplies were also brought from Russia to the United Kingdom to assist British war economy.
The Ushakov Medal
The Medal of Ushakov, named after Russia's most acclaimed Navy Commander Fyodor Ushakov, is a State Military Award of the Russian Federation that was originally established in 1944, during World War II, especially for those who demonstrated courage and prowess in sea warfare. Eighteenth century’s Russian Hero Admiral Ushakov never lost a battle and was proclaimed Patron Saint of the Russian Navy.
According to the State Decorations Regulation of the Russian Federation, the Medal is awarded to the personnel of the Navy and the Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation for bravery and courage displayed while defending the Motherland and the public interests of the Russian Federation in naval theatres of military operations, and while protecting the state borders of the Russian Federation, and when carrying out naval combat missions with vessels of the Navy and/or Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation, as well as during exercises and manoeuvres under conditions involving a risk to life. The medal is also awarded for excellent performance in naval combat training.