Douglas Joyce War Hero

Sep 11th, 2014 | By | Category: Joyce Biographies, Tales of the Joyce Family

First published Thursday 11 September 2014 in News
by Katie Mansfield

A VETERAN has spoken of his pride after being awarded a Russian convoy medal for braving some of the harshest conditions of the Second World War.

Douglas Joyce was honoured for his part in helping the British Arctic convoys transport supplies to Russia during the war.

He was 19 when he was called up in 1941, and joined the Royal Navy aboard HMS London where he took part in the dangerous missions which saw 3,000 servicemen die.

Now, 70 years on, Mr Joyce received the Ushakov medal, after the decision was made to allow veterans to receive the honour.

Mr Joyce, 92, of Cumberland Avenue, Benfleet, said: “It was a right muck-up. All those lives lost.

“I was up there quite a bit. We were protecting Iceland, the Denmark Strait and Greenland.

“I was on HMS London for three-and-a-half years roughly.

We went on raids, but not even a bullet hit our ship – there must have been a guardian angel watching us.”

Winston Churchill described the mission as “the worst journey in the world” and as well as dealing with attack from German U-boats and aircraft, sailors had to cope with the freezing conditions.

The medals were awarded to Mr Joyce and other veterans in a ceremony hosted by the Russian ambassador in recognition of his wartime efforts delivering vital supplies to the Soviet Union.

Mr Joyce said: “I went to the Russian embassy on Thursday. It was very good and I’m glad I went there as it was a real oneoff.

“My son came down from Yorkshire to join me and we got a car up there.

“I was allowed two guests so I asked the driver if he fancied coming in and he jumped at the chance.

“It was a really good experience.

I didn’t drink the vodka, but the tea was terrible.”

The medal will sit alongside the Arctic Star and another Russian convoy medal from the Russian government.

Mr Joyce’s time in the Navy also saw him travel to the Far East. He escorted a band to the Middle East to entertain the troops and was rewarded with a night out, on his return, at Ronnie Scott’s by the band’s drummer after helping him with chronic seasickness.

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