Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Retired Edinburgh bus driver given Arctic Convoy medal

Alex Ramsay Image copyright other
Image caption Alex Ramsay received the Ushakov medal from the Russian Consul General

A retired Edinburgh bus driver has been awarded a prestigious medal by Russia for his role in the 1944 Arctic Convoy.

Alex Ramsay, 88, was presented with the Ushakov Medal at his home in Portobello.

Andrey Pritsepov, the Russian Consul General, also handed Mr Ramsay a bottle of Russian vodka.

A veteran of the merchant navy, Mr Ramsay was among those who braved freezing conditions to deliver vital supplies to Russia.

From 1941 to 1945 Allied ships sailed from Scotland and Iceland to supply the country with food and weapons.

More than 3,000 seamen lost their lives to the freezing conditions and attacks by German submarines and aircraft.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Convoys left the Clyde and Loch Ewe to deliver supplies of food and weapons to Russia

Mr Ramsay said: "I am thrilled to receive another medal for my involvement in the war effort - it gives me a reason to reflect on the time I spent in the merchant navy.

"My main memory of the convoy was the camaraderie and the great team spirit on the boat, whilst we battled the enduring and bitterly cold weather."

The medal is named after Fyodor Ushakov, an 18th Century naval commander.

It is awarded to veterans "for personal courage and valour shown during World War Two while participating in the Arctic Convoys".

Linda Mason, retirement manager at Milton Court sheltered housing complex where the great grandfather lives, said: "We are all so very proud of Alex's achievements - he is an unassuming and modest man but his story is truly inspiring.

"His three older brothers enrolled in the army, and at just 16 Alex was technically too young. But he was determined to play his part, against his mother's will, and to contribute to the war effort."

More on this story