Kelso 96-year-old given another honour from Russia with love for Second World War Arctic convoy service

Kelso war hero Jock Ker has been awarded a second medal from Russia for his service in the Arctic convoys that helped bring about Germany’s defeat on the Second World War’s eastern front.

By Darin Hutson
Monday, 3rd August 2020, 10:12 am
Kelso's Jock Ker with his latest Russian Arctic convoy medal.
Kelso's Jock Ker with his latest Russian Arctic convoy medal.

Jock, 96, was called up in 1943 by the Royal Navy and went on to serve aboard the Liverpool-based sloop HMS Wild Goose as a stoker, taking part in April 1944 in an Arctic convoy escorting merchant ships carrying supplies to Murmansk.

He’s been sent a second medal by the Russian Federation to mark the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over the Nazis and Japanese, and a letter accompanying it thanks him for helping deliver “at least 7,000 airplanes, 5,000 tanks, trucks, tyres, fuel, food, medicine, clothes, metals and other raw materials”.

It adds: “Thousands of Allied seamen lost their lives as the British ships sailed in the stormy waters of the Arctic ocean under constant threat from German U-boats and aircraft.

“Your heroism and courage will always be remembered.”

Jock, a member of the congregation at Kelso North Parish Church in the town’s Bowmont Street, was also given a watch by the Russian Military Historical Society and another medal from the Russian Federation five years ago to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the 1939-45 war.

He’s now in line to be presented with a victory coin being issued by the Royal British Legion Scotland to all Second World War veterans to mark Victory over Japan Day on Saturday, August 15, too.

Alasdair Hutton, the legion’s Kelso branch president, said: “We are really pleased for Jock that his service has been recognised, and we are proud to have him here.

“He survived the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic and the Arctic convoys and is still an active member of the community in Kelso.”

Jock, born in Mill Wynd in Kelso, worked at the town’s John Scott bakery in Horsemarket before being called up and returned there after being discharged from the armed forces in 1946, retiring at the age of 65.