King’s Lynn veteran’s delight with Russian medal

Dennis Dent from King's Lynn with his Russian Medal ANL-150430-190721009
Dennis Dent from King's Lynn with his Russian Medal ANL-150430-190721009

A Lynn veteran who survived the “worst journey in the world” has been awarded a medal for his service in the Second World War.

Dennis Dent, 92, of Old Hospital Walk, survived a torpedo attack while delivering supplies in the perilous Russian Convoys.

Allied Forces supported the Russian war effort by delivering weapons and other supplies by sailing around Norway to Murmansk and Archangel. Winston Churchill dubbed this as the “worst journey in the world”.

Last year, Mr Dent and other members of the convoy were finally recognised for their service when the Arctic Star medal was issued by the British Government.

But last week Mr Dent’s service was honoured again by the Russian Government.

His son Paul, along with wife Samantha, went to the Russian Embassy in London on Tuesday last week to pick up the Ushakov Medal.

Mr Dent, who has written a memoir of his war, said: “I was absolutely delighted to receive it.”

He was 14 when he joined the Boys Band of the Royal Naval School of Music and later in 1940, a day after his 18th birthday, he joined the gunnery control crew on board HMS Edinburgh.

From deep within the ship, Mr Dent would control the fire of the 12 guns on the deck. He escaped the terrible cold which affected his colleagues on deck but he was in a vulnerable position in the event of a U-boat attack.

Between 1941 and 1942, Mr Dent and the other crew members on the cruiser provided cover to the merchant navy ships which were delivering vital supplies.

Within this book, Mr Dent recalls in great detail the Edinburgh’s final voyage in April 1942.

On April 30, the ship was seriously damaged after a torpedo attack and later had to be towed.

But she was then an easy targetand she was hit by another torpedo.

The Edinburgh was now vulnerable to the sea on both sides which left the captain no choice but to order the crew to abandon ship.

Mr Dent was on the morning watch at the time and while he was one of thehundreds of men picked up by other ships, sadly 58 members of the crew were killed during the action.