Posted: Fri 1st Jul 2016

Russian ‘Medal of Ushakov’ honour for Shotton World War II hero

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 1st, 2016

A Shotton man has this week been honoured for his courage and bravery during the Second World War when representatives from the Russian Embassy in London presented him with a medal for his service on the Atlantic Convoys

90-year-old Mr William Gilbert Butler (known as Gilbert) was presented with the Medal of Ushakov when a party from the Russian Embassy in London visited the Clwyd Alyn Extra Care Housing Scheme in Shotton this week.

Between 1941 and 1945 veterans endured freezing weather conditions and the continual threat of bombardment from German torpedoes on board the Arctic convoys, which were responsible for delivering supplies to Soviet forces.

The convoys’ journeys were considered so treacherous that Winston Churchill referred to each of the missions as “the worst journey in the world”. Many thousands of sailors died as ships were lost.

An ancient law previously prevented Royal Navy mariners from accepting foreign military decorations however, an exception was granted by the British Government in 2013 and the Russian Embassy in London has since tracked down veterans across the UK to ensure their courage and bravery is honoured.

Mr Butler was joined by his daughters Mrs Margaret Amos and Mrs Annette Ellis as the medal was presented.

Ellen Wharton, Extra Care Manager at Llys Eleanor said:

Seeing Gilbert stand up so straight and proud out of his wheelchair, to accept his medal standing, was one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed. It was a privilege and an honour to have been present, and it is humbling to learn of everything that Gilbert and all those who served on the convoys did for the generations that followed.”

 

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