A veteran of the Arctic Convoys of World War Two has received a surprise honour from the Russian government more than 70 years on from his service.
Great-grandfather Cliff Nuttall from Penwortham was presented with the Ushakov medal for bravery and courage, by an attache from the Russian embassy during a visit to his home this week.
Cliff, 92, said: “It came out of the blue really. I got a phone call on Monday about it.
“I applied for the medal quite a few years ago and ended up being told that they’d run out of the medals and were no longer issuing them. But then recently they must have started again and found my name on a list.
“I’m happy about it, it’s a nice thing to get and it’s brought back a lot of memories from those days.”
Cliff was born and brought up in Preston and volunteered to join the Royal Navy aged 19, rather than be conscripted to join the Army.
He served on HMS Berwick, a heavy cruiser and did at least three runs to Murmansk, Russia, in freezing conditions.
On one of the convoys, Cliff’s ship was hit with a torpedo from a German U Boat, and despite hitting the stern of the ship the missile didn’t detonate.
Cliff said: “I feel lucky that I got through that time relatively unscathed. Of three of us that signed up together, I was the only one who survived.”
After leaving the Navy, Cliff returned to a job at Preston Co-operative Society, then went on to be a station officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
His son Phil said: “It’s been explained to us that it’s quite an important medal and it’s come in a beautiful presentation box. We’re all chuffed to bits.”