Russian war medal for Arctic convoy sailor who braved treacherous seas of World War Two

MEDAL ... Mayor Coun. Faye Cunningham presents Russian Convey medal to Robert Richards.
MEDAL ... Mayor Coun. Faye Cunningham presents Russian Convey medal to Robert Richards.

A SAILOR from South Tyneside has finally been recognised for his heroic service during World War Two.

Former Royal Navy man Bob Richards, from Westoe Road, South Shields, served on the infamous Arctic convoys – keeping vital supply lines open on the deadly route to Russia.

It’s a wonderful feeling to finally have the medal

Bob Richards

For many years the 89–year–old, and his former comrades, have fought to have their efforts recognised. This week, the father-of-three was presented with the Ushakov Medal by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Faye Cunningham, on behalf of the Russian government

Mr Richards said: “It’s a wonderful feeling to finally have the medal, it’s taken many years to get it in my hands. I first applied for it years ago, but it just never seemed to come about.

“Then I got in touch with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, and I was told that I’d be getting presented with it this week. It’s brilliant.”

Bob’s ship, HMS Wren, was part of the convoy escort group in 1944.

Before that, Mr Richards and his shipmates saw plenty of action. In June 1943, HMS Wren and other ships in the group depth-charged and sank the German U-boat U-449, north-west of Cape Ortegal, Spain.

By the autumn of 1943, HMS Wren had carried out five patrols, which included rescuing survivors from the U-boat, U-607, sunk by a Sunderland flying boat, and sinking another themselves.

In the August, they rescued six crew of a Sunderland flying boat which had been forced to ditch.

After the war, Mr Richards returned to his job as a miner at Harton Colliery.

Twitter: @ShieldsGazVez