No. 11 AREA

 Ushakov Medal Presentation

Friday 21 October, 2016

A heroic veteran who sailed in the arctic convoys during World War II has been honoured with the Russian Ushakov medal.

Geoff Mellor, of Waterloo, Huddersfield, was presented with the award given to those who risked their lives in convoys travelling north of the Arctic Circle between 1939 and 1945 at a ceremony in Leeds on 21st October 2016.

Third Secretary of the Russian Embassy Elizaveta Vokorina, Attaché of the Russian Embassy Mr Oleg Shor, Attaché of the Russian Embassy Elena Gorshkova and Assistant Naval Attaché Commander Dmitry Sharapov presented the Ushakov medals to British veterans of the Arctic Convoys.

Over 100 guests, including veterans’ families, representatives of the local authorities and press took part in the ceremony.

Participants of the ceremony, which took place at Leeds City Hall, were warmly welcomed by The Lord Mayor of Leeds Gerry Harper.

Speaking on behalf of the Russian Government, Mrs Elizabeth Vokorina thanked the veterans for their invaluable contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Geoff served on board HMS Myngs during the war, a Zambesi-class, or Z-class, Fleet Destroyer launched on 31st May 1943. He joined the ship in February 1945 when she was part of Force l as screen for the cruisers HMS Norfolk and Dido with destroyers HMS Zambesi and Savage to provide cover for Force 2 during shipping attacks off Bud and air minelay in Skatestromnen.

Later the same month the ship joined Force 4 as screen for HMS Dido and escort carriers HMS Premier and Puncher to provide cover for minesweeping operations by Force 3 NE of Orkneys and an air minelay in Karm Sound with the destroyers HMS Zambesi and Cavalier (Operations 'Shred' and 'Groundsheet').

At the end of February HMS Myngs joined the escort for return convoy RA64 with HMS Cavalier and Zambesi. She detached from RA64 escort on 27th February and re-joined the Home Fleet at the beginning of March.

On 12th March the ship joined Russian Convoy JW65 with HM Ships Campania, Onslaught, Opportune, Orwell, Scorpion and Zambesi as ocean escort. Close escort included the destryer HMS Myngs, HMCS Sioux (RCN), Norwegian Stord, HM Sloop Lapwing and seven corvettes from Western Approaches Command. (Escort carrier HMS Trumpeter screened by the destroyers HMS Savage and Scourge joined JW65 later).

The convoy came under U-Boat attacks on 20th March during which HMS Lapwing and a mercantile were sunk. HMS Myngs detached on arrival at Kola Inlet and sailed three days later on the 23rd as part of the escort for returning convoy RA65 with HMS Trumpeter, HMS Campania and Fleet destroyers of JW63 escort.

HMS Myngs detached from RA65 on 30th March and re-joined the Home Fleet. For the rest of Geoff's time on board, the ship deployed with the Home Fleet Flotilla. The ship remained in commission after VJ Day and was transferred to the 3rd Escort Flotilla at Portland in August 1948. The next year this Flotilla was renamed 2nd Training Flotilla and used for training duties based at Portland.

In September 1954 Myngs was reduced to Reserve status pending conversion into Type 15 anti-submarine Frigate. As this selection was never implemented she was placed on the Sales List and in 1955 sold to Egypt.

Renamed 'El Qaher' the destroyer sailed for Egypt on 28th August 1956. She returned to Cowes for refit between May 1963 and July 1964 and returned to service. She was sunk by enemy air attack on 16th May 1970 during hostilities with Israel.

(Images: Embassy of the Russian Federation to the UK).

(Click on the thumbnails for a larger image)

[back to Gallery]