Royal Navy veteran Arthur ‘Andy’ Andrews applied for his Artic Star medal months ago so when his wife Mary took a call asking if he would go to 10 Downing Street to get it, she thought it was a scam.
But on Sunday the 88-year-old former Fleet Air Arm air mechanic first class went to Number 10 as one of 22 Arctic convoy veterans to receive not only an Arctic Star medal from David Cameron but the Ushakov Medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Andy, who moved to Bury St Edmunds with Vinten in 1964, said: “It was quite a nice day. Something you don’t do very often.”
He joined the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable in 1943 aged 19. They gave air cover to three Arctic convoys, attacked the Tirpitz, served in the Far East and at Okinawa, facing Kamikazes.
All his other campaign medals were presented soon after the war, but Arctic Convoy veterans have had to wait until this year for recognition for political reasons.
President Putin told the veterans: “We remember you and we believe you are heroes, and I’m humbled by the honour to be here today and to decorate you.”
Mr Cameron said: “The work you did to supply our ally, Russia, in that great struggle was absolutely vital and we should remember it again today.”
Fyodor Ushakov was a Russian fleet commander who, in 1800, fought his fleet alongside Nelson’s against the French in the Mediterranean.