Bob Cowan and the World War Two Arctic Convoys
Bob Cowan, 93, and his wife Joyce are regulars at Chorlton Good Neighbours coffee mornings. One day last year he came in with a letter from the Russian Embassy in London, telling him they wanted to award him and other veterans the medal of Ushakov in recognition of their role in supporting Russian through their participation in the WW2 Arctic Convoys.
I followed this up and eventually found out from the Russian embassy that they were being prevented from giving the medal by the UK government because it was against the rules. We then mounted a campaign to get the government to change its mind and allow the awarding of the medal. This resulted in a front page article in the Manchester Evening News, articles in the Daily Mail and an interview on Granada Reports
The wider campaign to have an Arctic Convoy medal issued by the UK government gathered momentum because of this story and eventually the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced in PM Questions just before Christmas 2012, that such a medal would be awarded. However, the medal of Ushakov can still not be awarded and the fight to allow the Russian Government to award this still goes on
The video above includes descriptions by Bob of what it was like to be in the Arctic Convoys and to have been rescued from the water after being on a ship (HMS Mashona) that was sunk. He also describes his experiences on the Malta convoys. Bob went on to serve in the Pacific campaign, to have been present at the surrender of Japan and to have walked through Hiroshima shortly after the Atomic Bomb.
The campaign to have the Arctic Convoy veterans contribution to the defence of this country in WWs is described in a clip from his interview with Granada TV in October 2013. This campaign which was supported and promoted by Bob’s friends at Chorlton Good Neighbours, was successful when the Prime Minister in PM Questions Time in December 2013, announced the awarding of an Arctic Convoy medal for the remaining veterans
Bob Cowan, 4th from right, with shipmates onboard the HMS Ashanti off Iceland, 1942