War hero ‘over the moon’ with medal honour

Naval veteran Harry Ludford with his prized Russian medal.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Naval veteran Harry Ludford with his prized Russian medal.'Picture by Jane Coltman

A Second World War veteran has spoken of his pride after being honoured by the Russian Government for his heroic efforts in the Arctic Convoys.

Harry Ludford, 91, has received a commemorative medal for the part he played in helping to transport crucial supplies to Russia.

“I’m over the moon and proud to receive my medal,” said the grandfather-of-two, who is a resident at Alnwick’s Castleview Care Home.

Created by the Allied powers, the Arctic Convoys sailed through snow storms and darkness under attack from German U-boats and fighter planes to deliver vital supplies to the Soviet Union in northern Russia. More than 3,000 men died during the maritime campaign. By May 1945, the Arctic route had claimed 104 merchant and 16 military vessels.

Harry served for 846 Naval Air Squadron on the aircraft carriers. He also provided air support on D-Day and helped paint stripes on the wings of planes in preparation for the invasion.

Father-of-one Harry forged his birth certificate to make himself a year older so he could sign up early for the war. He served as an electrician.

After the war, he owned a general dealers in Whitley Bay. He was married to Belle and the couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2010. Belle passed away in 2011.


“It is a huge privilege for me to thank you, on behalf of the Russian Government, for the invaluable contribution you and your comrades-in-arms made to the defeat of Nazi Germany.What you did, taking part in what Winston Churchill rightly called the worst journey in the world, was extraordinary, even among what is considered to be beyond the call of duty. Your heroism will always be remembered in Russia and Britain. Your deeds will continue to serve as the supreme expression of bravery and a high point in human spirit. On the instructions of president Vladimir Putin, I have the honour of presenting you with the commemorative medal.”