ARCTIC convoy veteran Roy Sinclair has been awarded a medal by the Russian government.
The 96-year-old war hero, from Herne Bay, was presented with the Ushakov medal for his service more than 70 years ago as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy. He served in the Arctic Sea during one of the greatest feats of the Second World War.
Mr Sinclair was just 21 when he joined the Navy and during his service delivered much-needed resources to the Russians.
On December 30, a diplomat came from the Russian Embassy in London to give the medal to Mr Sinclair at High Pines Residential Home in Pigeon Lane.
Jean, Mr Sinclair’s wife of 55 years, said: “I received a phone call from the Russian Embassy to say that they were coming to present the award to Roy. He has been rewarded for his service when the Royal Navy escorted the Merchant Navy taking the cargoes to Russia.
“Roy received the Arctic Star medal from the UK government last year, but when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin came over to the UK in July 2013 he said the Russian Embassy also wanted to commend the war heroes too.
“The diplomat thanked Roy on behalf of the Russian Embassy for what he did during his service. It was a pretty horrific time for the sailors with the treacherous weather and the icy conditions but they still managed to aid the convoys.”
The father of two and grandfather of four was admitted to High Pines Residential Home in April 2014 after his dementia got worse. Mrs Sinclair looked after him for as long as she could.
She said: “It’s been very hard over the last couple of years and it’s just so upsetting knowing what an active man he was before he was diagnosed.
“The home is not very far away so I can go and see him often, and even though he doesn’t know me as his wife – he only knows me as Jean – I like to be there with him, to keep him company and to make sure he is not alone. It really has been traumatic, but this new medal has really uplifted Roy and the family.”
Mr Sinclair’s son Andrew, Andrew’s wife Ruth and two sons, Sam and Thomas, were at the presentation with his niece June, Jean’s sister and her husband.
Mrs Sinclair said: “It was a very nice occasion and we are all very proud of Roy. I had to explain to him what was going on before the diplomat arrived.
“He remembered receiving the Arctic Star medal last year and when I explained what the Ushakov medal was he was very pleased to receive the new one from the Russian Embassy.
“I am so pleased he was well enough to realise what was going on. Even though he doesn’t know who I am, or who his sons and grandsons are, he remembered the occasion as he spoke to his carer about it afterwards. It was a very special occasion for all the family.”