War veteran receives Arctic Convoy medal

Thomas McLoughlin (front, in red scarf) with other servicemen who received their medals.
Thomas McLoughlin (front, in red scarf) with other servicemen who received their medals.

A Lancaster man has been awarded a top honour for the part he played in World War Two.

Thomas McLoughlin, 95, was given the Ushakov Russian Convoy Medal at a ceremony in Plymouth, where he now lives.

Thomas McLoughlin receiving his medal.

Thomas McLoughlin receiving his medal.

The medal is awarded to sailors who have displayed courage in the course of defending Russia or its interests

Mr McLoughlin was one of 25 British veterans of the Arctic Convoys to receive the honour from the Counsellor of the Russian Embassy, Sergey Nalobin, at a ceremony in Plymouth.

Speaking on behalf of the Russian Government, Mr Nalobin thanked the veterans for their invaluable contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Mr McLoughlin was born on November 24 1919 to Martin and Elizabeth McLoughlin, at 6 Anchor Lane, Lancaster.

He was one of eight children, six boys and one girl (unfortunately all now deceased).

He also lived in Larch Grove, on the Marsh Estate.

He attended St Peter’s School until the age of 15. His first job was for a Miss Hudson, delivering hats.

He also worked at Caton and at the shipyard, where his father also worked.

Mr McLoughlin joined the Territorials for a very short time, but then joined the Royal Navy in 1937.

During the war he was a Gunner on several ships, and was part of the Russian Convoys – hence being awarded the Ushakov Medal.

Mr McLoughlin was serving on HMS Hecla when it was sunk and spent many hours in the water before being rescued.

Once the war was over he started training to become a physical training instructor and made that his career for the rest of his Navy days.

In 1940 Mr McLoughlin married Florence Cole, who lived in Laburnum Grove.

They had three children – Tommy, Maureen and Stephen.

Mr McLoughlin’s career within the Royal Navy took him to many places, including Singapore, accompanied by his family, and also Hong Kong. He was also based in Plymouth for many years at HMS Fisgard and HMS Drake.

He finally retired from the Navy in 1966, having spent 29 years in the service.

He then joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September 1966 and was lucky to have travelled all over the world with his wife.

He finally retired in 1979 and settled in Plymouth.

Mr McLoughlin’s daughter Maureen Frude said: “My father is very proud of his Lancaster roots and went back on many occasions to visit his family.

“He talks endlessly of his days growing up and has many happy stories to relate.

“Unfortunately we lost my mother four years ago, but they had spent and celebrated their Platinum Wedding Anniversary (70 years) just six months before she died.”