Sheffield war hero gets medal from Russia

Hero Roy Dinsdale pictured as a young soldier and with his medal, inset
Hero Roy Dinsdale pictured as a young soldier and with his medal, inset

A Sheffield war hero says he is ‘delighted’ after being awarded a medal from the Russian Government.

Veteran Roy Dinsdale was visited by Oleg Shor, attaché of the Russian Embassy, on Wednesday, who presented him with the Ushakov medal for courage and bravery displayed in World War Two.

Roy, aged 90, of Ecclesfield, was honoured for serving in the Arctic Convoys.

His regiment battled sub-zero temperatures north of the Arctic Circle to provide Russia with supplies.

Roy and his colleagues completed ocean convoys which sailed from the United Kingdom, Iceland, and North America to northern ports in the Soviet Union.

Roy, who has also been awarded the Arctic Star military medal from the UK Government, said: “I am delighted to receive this great honour from Russia.

“I can still remember one storm on our trip to Murmansk – all these years have passed but I vividly remember thinking we could never survive it.”

Born in Skipton, Roy joined the war efforts as a 17-year-old, leaving behind studies at Oxford.

Recalling one voyage getting supplies to Russia, Roy said: “Soon we were attacked by U-boats.

“If that weren’t bad enough but we soon met a storm which lasted several days and caused the convoy to be scattered, leaving the stragglers to be picked off by the enemy.

“I only met one such gale and even old hands said they had never seen its equal.

“Photographs taken at the time don’t do it justice. Mountainous waves roared and crashed down over the bows onto the flight deck. We had canvas sheets rigged for protection where parts of the ship were exposed. “Walk on the wrong side and you were in danger of being swept overboard. One of the watchkeepers told us that the ship was rolling 48 degrees.

“I watched, from the stern of the ship, some of the merchantmen. The ship would give a long, slow roll as though she would disappear and never come up again.

“Then she would rise, rise and rise before shuddering again and go into the depths. The merchantmen, in turn, would almost vanish until they were silhouetted against the horizon, their props visible above the sky.

“There was non-stop noise, what with the wind and the creaking of the ship.”

After the war, Roy moved to Sheffield and spent his days working for the city’s libraries. He also worked at Stannington College.

He had three children with wife Barbara and is now a grandfather of five.

Honouring Roy, Oleg Shor said: “Your heroism will always be remembered in Russia and Britain. Your deeds will continue to serve the supreme expression of bravery and a high point in human spirit.”