To Petition the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP The Secretary of State for Defence. For Merchant Navy Veterans to Receive the Russian Convoy Ushakov medal.

This petition made change with 41 supporters!


A Plymouth war veteran in 73-year wait for Russian medal.

The Arctic convoys of World War II were oceangoing convoys which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union - primarily Arkhangelsk (Archangel) and Murmansk, both in modern-day Russia. There were 78 convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 (although there were two gaps with no sailings between July and September 1942, and March and November 1943), sailing via several seas of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

 AN 89-YEAR-OLD Merchant Navy veteran is still waiting for his Arctic convoy campaign medal – which he earned at the age of just 16.

Len Fergus is expecting to be honoured by the Russian Government for the service he gave in 1941 during World War Two.

He has been nominated for the Ushakov Medal, which is awarded to Allied sailors who braved German attacks and atrocious weather to get vital aid to the Soviets.

It would be Len’s 15th campaign honour – he is thought to be only man to have an Arctic Star and a Falklands War medal. The Arctic star was awarded to Len by the mayor’ of Plymouth  Mrs Pengelly in 2013, after many organisations campaigned for this medal for veterans to receive it from the British Government.

Len, an orphan, believed he was 16 when he signed up for the Merchant Navy in 1940.

He later found his birth certificate which proved he was in fact only 15 at the time and too young to join the convoys.

Sadly some Artic veterans had been awarded their Arctic star a matter of hours before they passed from life and they will not be allowed to receive the Ushakov Medal posthumously. 

 Len has waited many months for his Russian medal to be presented and still there seems to be no response from the Government and MoD officials.The Chairman Mr. Basil Gregory of the Merchant Navy Plymouth and Southwest Seafarers Association had applied for Lens medal on his behalf. To this day a response has not come from the MoD or the Seretary of state.

Len is not in the best of health these days and it is his deepest wish to be presented with his Russian medal, and that he expresses his concerns for others who may also be in the poorest of health who are entitled to this medal, and may not live to be presented with it.

I respectfully request your support in ensuring that all Arctic Convoy veterans receive their Ushakov Medal. The government appears to be dragging their feet in awarding these fine veteran’s  their medals.

May I, thank you for your pending support. Petitioned on behalf of our chairperson Mr.Basil Gregory.  Larry Dwyer Merchant Navy Plymouth & Southwest Seafarers Association.

A brief insight.

  • Veterans undertook what was dubbed "the worst journey in the world", delivering supplies to Russia
  • More than 3,000 seamen died on the journey, which made sure Germany had to fight a war on two fronts
  • The seamen delivered ships which carried crucial supplies, including 13,000 tanks, 22,000 aircraft and 417,000 motor vehicles
  • Some 58 of the 811 merchant ships involved were sunk by German U-boats, battleships and Luftwaffe bombers
  • With freezing temperatures of minus 20 degrees, anyone who fell into the water died within three minutes
  • The men covered a 1,500 to 2,000-mile run across the North and Barents Seas, one of the deadliest convoy routes during the war.  for more information click on the  link

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