MSP leads tributes to Arctic Convoy war hero

One of Wigtownshire’s last veterans of World War Two, Johnny McBryde, sadly passed away last Saturday.

The ninety-three year old Port William resident showed exceptional bravery by serving his country in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic taking vital supplies to Murmansk to help keep the then USSR in the war on the side of the Allies against Nazi Germany.

Johnny, who endured the inhospitable conditions aboard ship for 14 months on HMS Obedient, was given many campaign medals over the years by the Russian Government as a thank you for helping to save many lives in the war-ravaged Soviet Union. But it took until 2013, long after the Cold War ended, before the convoy veterans received a medal from their own British Government.

Johnny was one of the few still left when he received his medal from the late Lord Lieutenant of Wigtownshire, Mrs Terry Brewis.

In November last year, Johnny was presented with the prestigious Ushakov medal for bravery by the Russian Consulate General in Glasgow City Chambers.

A few days later he wore all his medals as he proudly led the parade at the Remembrance Day service in Port William.

Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson paid this tribute: “Johnny McBryde’s death will be mourned by many, not just across this region but across the whole country.

“My thoughts are, of course, with his immediate family, but I cannot help but feel that he will have passed on just a little happier that his heroic war effort on the Atlantic Convoys were finally and properly recognised in his last year.

“As I said at the time, he will have accepted his Arctic convoy medal on behalf of the many colleagues who did not live to receive their due recognition from the UK Government for their great contribution to our freedom.

“I commend the Galloway Gazette for its long running campaign to secure that recognition, but I would also say “Thank you Johnny - may you rest in peace”.