A DECORATED Second World War navy veteran from an Oxfordshire village received a 75th anniversary medal from the Russian Embassy on Victory in Europe Day.

Ron Buckett, a 94-year-old resident of Buckland, received the foreign medal he earned in freezing waters plagued with enemy ships while he served as a seamen aboard the destroyer HMS Louis that escorted supplies to Arctic Russia.

While Britain only recognised the veterans of the convoys in 2013, Russia has always remembered the service rendered by the Royal Navy in supporting the supply convoys during the war, and has sent veterans like Mr Buckett medals at each major anniversary.

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Local military historian Mike Sheil, who also lives in Buckland, said Mr Buckett’s travels during the war were ‘extraordinary’ and that he was part of a generation ‘we will never see again’.

Fascinated by his life during the war, Mr Sheil tracked the 94-year-old’s travels around the world serving his country.

As an inexperienced 17-year-old boy seaman, Mr Buckett served on HMS Louis in the North Atlantic and then in Normandy during the D-Day landings.

On June 7, 1944, he helped in what is still the largest ever marine rescue operation without loss of life when HMS Louis and another destroyer rescued 2,689 men from the US troopship USS Susan B Anthony that was sinking off the Normandy coastline.

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Several months later in October, the young seaman found himself as part of the escort group for Convoy JW 61 travelling to Arctic Russia when the ships picked up radio transmissions from a wolf-pack of no less than 19 German ‘undersea boats’.

Mr Buckett recalled that the U-Boats fired several acoustic torpedoes at them, however, decoy noise making equipment helped the seamen escape the attacks and the escorts reached the Kola Inlet on October 28.

Three days later the escort group was at sea again seeking to clear the route for the convoys return however, the Oxfordshire resident explained, one of the boast was struck by a torpedo and 11 crew members were killed.

After HMS Louis returned to Britain, it was deployed to Hull where her engines were used to provide power to the bomb-shattered docks.

Mr Buckett was then transferred to East Asia to serve aboard a fleet minesweeper.

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He recalled how his crew spent more than eight months on almost-constant and perilous mine clearance across Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the island of Borneo.

The exotic destinations and the extraordinary experience left a lasting mark for Mr Buckett’s as he vividly remembers the trips.

The long shifts of mine clearance work were also interspersed with travels to places such as the Seychelles where the seamen were part of a landing party that was sent ashore armed with Lanchester submachine guns.

He remembered getting ready to go to battle only to be confronted by the locals armed with an old wind-up gramophone that played Bing Crosby tunes.

Mr Buckett ended his war-time service aboard a minesweeper in the Far East.

He then returned to Buckland where he has lived in since then and worked as a builder.

Mr Sheil described him as a ‘smart, stable and a very proud man’ who looks after himself well.

He added that the 94-year-old veteran is still ‘sharp as a needle’ and that, until last year, Mr Buckett was still working two days a week doing odd building jobs and gardening.