Article 154

“Surviving the Arctic Convoys – Remembering the heroism of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War (Part 1)”

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This year, 2020, marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War. This is the term used in Russia and some former republics of the Soviet Union to refer to the conflicts between the then Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945, along the Eastern Front of World War II.

Over the last seven decades, the government of the Russian Federation has awarded numerous medals to the military veterans of the Great Patriotic War, two of whom happen to live in Cape Town! Mr Joseph Wilkinson (94) and Mr Trevor Gordon Peter Poland (97) are the last two surviving veterans of the Arctic convoys living in South Africa.

On Monday 21 September 2020, the Russian Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Mr Ilya Rogachev travelled from Pretoria to Cape Town especially, to award the Jubilee medal commemorating “75 Years of Victory in the Great Patriotic War 1941– 1945” to Mr Joseph Wilkinson and Mr Trevor Poland.

Please note that this is Part 1 of a two-part article. Part 2 is published in the January edition of the Military Despatches.

Published in the Military Despatches of December 2020.