Second World War sailor to get medal after 70-year wait

James Martin with some of his medals

James Martin with some of his medals

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The long wait is almost over for war veteran James Martin.

The 90-year-old served on the Russian convoys during the Second World War, helping to take food, tanks, armoured vehicles, ammunition and other vital items to Russia.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. I have been waiting for it for a long time.”

James Martin

And today - 70 years later - he will finally receive a medal from Russia recognising his efforts.

Mr Martin, who lives in Clayton-le-Woods, near Chorley, said: “I’m very much looking forward to it. I have been waiting for it for a long time.

“It shows that the Russian government and the people appreciated what the sailors in the convoys did. A lot of the sailors didn’t come back.”

Mr Martin will be given the honorary Ushakov medal in a ceremony at Chorley Town Hall.

It will be presented by Chorley’s MP Lindsay Hoyle and the Mayor of Chorley, Coun Marion Lowe, will be in attendance.

Mr Hoyle collected the medal from the Russian embassy in London on Mr Martin’s behalf, as he was unable to make the trip to the capital himself.

Mr Hoyle said: “I’m very pleased. This is recognition - long overdue but at least the recognition is there.

“I am pleased that I have been able to play a part in getting this medal.”

Mr Martin was a stoker on board HMS Offa which ran the gauntlet of German warplanes and U-boats.

During the trips, 87 merchant ships and 16 British war ships were sunk.

The sailors in the convoy could not accept a medal from the Russian government after the war and were instead given the Atlantic Star - even though it was a separate campaign 80 miles away.

The British sailors were eventually given the Arctic Star, a full campaign medal, in 2013.

And now Mr Martin will finally be able to add the Ushakov medal to his collection.