Navy veteran is proud of his Russian honour

A World War Two veteran is delighted to have another medal to his collection.

Charles Hill as a gunner in the Royal Navy 1942-1945
Charles Hill as a gunner in the Royal Navy 1942-1945

Charles Hill, of Longridge, has been awarded the Ushakov medal on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin for his services to the Arctic convoy in Russia in the Second World War.

The 91-year-old followed in his dad’s footsteps as he joined up as a seaman when he was 17 in 1942.

As a gunner with the Royal Navy, he was based on the HMS Aylmer, one of the escort ships for the merchant fleets that took supplies over.

Charles Hill with his Ushakov medal

He said: “I have lots of good memories. It was a big adventure to me.

“The Arctic and Russian convoys came from Loch Ewe in Scotland to Murmansk in Russia. The last convoy I was on was called Operation Goodwood and I was on one of the three escort ships.

“When we got to Mermansk one of the aircraft carriers was torpedoed and it started to sink stern down. All the fleets dispersed and the three escort vessels were left, including mine.

“My job as a gunner was to man the gun pit for four hours. It was very cold and we only had one duffle coat to swap over as we were on duty. It was pitch black - we got used to doing everything by torch.”

Charles Hill with his Ushakov medal

Charles, a father-of-two, with three grandchildren, has six campaign medals, an Atlantic clasp, an award for his role in the Normandy invasion, and four other Russian convoy medals. He was also recently awarded the Freedom of Longridge by the town council.

He added: “I am proud of everything I have done. It is such a lovely medal to receive.

“I had been given the four Russian convoy medals initially and then I got a letter from Vladimir Putin to say I would receive this Ushakov medal.”