A NEWTOWNABBEY councillor who is campaigning for the government to present medals to those who served in the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War has appealed for more information about local men who served on the dreaded ‘Russian Run’.
Following publication of an article in the Times earlier this month highlighting alderman Billy Ball’s campaign, the DUP man was contacted by several people whose fathers, uncles and grandfathers were among the thousands of brave men who ran the gauntlet of German warplanes and U-boats to get vital supplies to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945.
He commented: “Following the article I have been contacted by several people - one man whose father served on HMS Formidable. He also had an uncle who served on HMS Somali and died on the ship. Another woman, Karen, whose grandad served on the convoy and was awarded the DSM (Distinguished Service Medal) by King George VI also got in touch. Her mum and dad live in Rathcoole, but she lives in London. The number she left for me doesn’t seem to work, so I just want to appeal for her to get in touch again.”
Alderman Ball, who is also keen to hear from relatives of those who served on HMS Wanderer, can be contacted by telephoning 07917 543674 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The former serviceman is urging local councillors, MLAs and MPs across Northern Ireland to lobby the government to keep its pre-election promise to strike an Arctic Medal and present it to those who braved the freezing Arctic seas and what Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’.