Arctic bravery rewarded 70 years later

British servicemen who served on convoys between the UK and Russia during the Second World War have been recognised by the government.

Around 24 members of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (Ajex) received the Arctic Star award after a 70-year campaign.

The vessels travelled through German blockades to keep war materials and supplies afloat between the Allies.

Arctic Star recipient Jack Zussman, 88, who joined the navy at 19 and was a radar mechanic on the convoy, recalled “attack attempts all the time, u-boats and air attacks. There were stormy seas and the ship was covered in ice.”

Lionel Lassman, now 87, was responsible, at the age of 18, for navigation on a convoy. It was like “being tossed about like a cork on the Arctic Ocean”.

East End-born Alfred Bowers’s service on the convoy was driven by one thought: “‘I must beat Hitler’. That more or less kept me going”.

Mr Bowers’s time on the convoy led to love as he met his wife Irene, a clerk, when his ship went to dock for repair near Grimsby. The couple, members of Grimsby shul, will celebrate their 70th anniversary this October.

Last updated: 10:45am, July 26 2013