A Sheffield WWII veteran has received a medal from Russian president Vladimir Putin, thanking him for his service 70 years ago.
Albert Kinder, of Handsworth, was amazed to receive the medal in the post last week, along with a letter from the president, recognising Albert’s heroism and invaluable contribution to the ‘defeat of Nazi Germany.’
The 92-year-old said: “It was such a shock, after all these years, but a truly touching gesture.”
Albert was called up to the navy in 1942, when he was 18, and spent the next three years of the war as a sailor aboard the battleship HMS Howe. He was a stoker first class, based down in the engine room, and saw action in Russia, Sicily and the Middle East.
Albert said: “The places we visited were so cold that the engine room was the best place to be really, as it was at least warm. Up top, the sailors couldn’t even touch the railings without sticking to them. We sawe some scary times over there and were all relieved to make it back home.”
The letter continues: ‘Thousands of Allied seamen lost their lives as the British ships sailed in the unwelcoming, stormy waters of the Arctic ocean, under constant threat of being attacked by German U-boats and aircraft. What you did 70 years ago was extraordinary and your heroism will always be remembered in Russia. Your deeds will continue to serve as the supreme expression of bravery and a high point in human spirit. I am confident that it was not by accident that our nations found themselves on the right side of history.’
Albert’s niece, Eileen Murphy, of Crookes, said: “We’re so proud of him, he’s such a lovely man and he truly deserves this recognition.”