A ROSYTH veteran who braved freezing conditions in the Arctic Convoys has been awarded one of the highest honours from the Russian Government.

Alexander Gillan, 92, of Ramsey Place, had been waiting for the recognition for 75 years and was this week awarded the Ushakov medal for his efforts.

The former sailor said he was "very proud" as he accepted the honour. An emotional Mr Gillan held hands with Andrey Pritsepov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Edinburgh, who told him he was "regarded as a war hero in Russia".

"On behalf of the Russian President and the people of Russia, I present you this war medal for your exceptional bravery in World War II," Mr Pritsepov said.

"Thank you for all you have done for both of our countries."

Mr Gillan said: "It was tough times – I didn't like the weather much!"

Mr Gillan first joined the Royal Navy in 1942 where he spent five weeks training at HMS Drake in Plymouth. He was then sent off to Liverpool and on to Algiers where his eyes were opened to just how poor people could be.

After a stint in Malta he was sent to the Russia with the Artic Convoys and was present when the famous German battleship, Scharnhorst, was sunk at the battle of North Cape on Boxing Day 1943.

After the Second World War, Mr Gillan also served in Korea for three years.

This isn't the first time Mr Gillan has been honoured by a foreign government, having twice previously been invited to receive medals from the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea.

He previously told the Press: "Thank God I only crossed the Artic once.

"War is a very disgusting thing.

"I remember it being very, very cold. So cold that your nose hair would be frozen and if you touched the rail handle your skin would rip off."

Winston Churchill deemed the Artic Convoys as the "worst journey in the world" which saw sailors deliver vital supplies between the UK and the Soviet Union.