From Russia with love for war vet Eric

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A heroic Arctic Convoy veteran from Northowram has been granted a prestigious award in recognition of his service during the Second World War.

Eric Lawton, 89, travelled to London to receive the Ushakov Medal in a ceremony held at the Russian Ambassador’s residence.

More than 100 guests, including relatives of the veterans, were welcomed by the Ambassador of Russia to UK, Alexander Yakovenko, to take part in the ceremony to commemorate the bravery of those who served on the convoys.

Eric’s son Paul was there to watch the proud moment his dad received the award for his service.

“It was a fantastic day and dad was really excited to receive the medal, which he will wear with pride,” Paul said.

“He had the chance to talk to old sailors and he really felt that the Russians were pleased to be giving out the medals.”

Father-of-four Eric served in the Navy for two years after joining in 1943, but along with other Arctic Convoy veterans, has only recently been able to accept the prestigious award.

When the Russian government first offered medals of bravery to those who served on the perilous Arctic Convoy journeys, British government rules decreed that medals issued by a foreign government could not be accepted.

These prohibitions are no loner in place and the Ushakov Medal recognises the courage and bravery of those who served on the Arctic Convoys, many of whom lost their lives.

Each medal has a unique number and paperwork for the individual it was awarded to and the day was a special one all who attended, as their service was recognised.

Following the ceremony, visitors retired for tea before enjoying the splendour of the Ambassador’s residence.

Paul added: “Dad felt very welcome and I felt very proud of him.

“Its hard to imagine what he went through and what he sacrificed, as the convoys were hard, conditions were very cold and many lost their lives.”