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Memories of danger at sea
11:35am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
CORSHAM veterans Fred Andrews and Mervyn Salter recalled the appalling conditions sailors faced on the convoys and the comrades they lost at sea.
Mr Salter, 89, said: “The conditions were as Churchill described them. They were treacherous and awful. It was the combination of the gale force winds, mountainous seas and the darkness, as there was only about an hour of light a day.
“I was in the Royal Navy and my most vivid memories are sinking the German battleship Scharnhorst, D-Day and sinking a Japanese cruiser.
“There were many dangerous moments and difficult times, but it’s nice that we are here today to finally receive these medals.
“It is a fantastic celebration, remembering the Russian convoys and those who lost their lives.
“It’s absolutely great to meet fellow servicemen and we are all very pleased to be awarded the medals, although it was the result of the Russians pressurising our own government.”
Fred Andrews, 88, served in the Merchant Navy. He said: “It means a lot to get the medal after so long. It’s a shame it has taken 70 years.
“I was in the radio department, so I was tasked with keeping continuous watch as we could be hit at any time. It was obviously very scary, but you sort of got used to it.
“I remember one particular occasion when a convoy ship next to our ship, which was carrying iron ore, was hit and sunk immediately.
“I’m pleased to see so many make it along. It was great that Igor could come and give a speech. I was stationed in Russia for a year and I was on a crane ship, which was used to lift tanks.”
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