Search

Arctic hero from Hornchurch adds Russian honour to his medals

18:00 02 August 2014

Mr Ernest Hull from Hornchurch has been awarded a russian medal for his part in WW2.

Mr Ernest Hull from Hornchurch has been awarded a russian medal for his part in WW2.

Archant

An 18-year-old signed up for the navy in 1943 in order to see the world. It was a decision that would see him fighting for his life, destroying submarines in foreign oceans.

Ernie Hull, 88, of Berkshire Way, Hornchurch, has been highly commemorated since his Second World War efforts and on Tuesday received the coveted Ushakov Medal for bravery from the Russian government. It is the highest Russian naval award and was named in honour of Admiral Fyodor Ushakov who never lost a battle, or a ship, in 43 engagements and was proclaimed patron saint of the Russian Navy.

The medal was handed to Ernie at a Russian Embassy ceremony in Kensington Gardens for his achievements in the freezing Arctic. The Arctic convoy’s job was to protect merchant ships carrying armaments and food to Russia.

Ernie said he felt that the sailors from merchant ships deserved the medal more than he did, as they were the ones in the most danger and added: “I wanted to see the world, and I thought I would get the chance if I joined the navy.”

While men in other countries received the Ushakov Medal earlier it was a long wait for British sailors. Agreement was only finalised between President Putin and David Cameron in 2012. Last year, Ernie was also one of the veterans who received the retrospective Arctic Star from the British government. He received a Campaign Medal and a Burma Star after the war. Ernie went on three Arctic convoys whilst on a small, manoeuvrable, lightly-armed warship the HMS Bamborough Castle.

Its mission was to search for submarines and eradicate them. On Ernie’s second trip, they destroyed a submarine in the Bering Sea.

“I felt sorry for the men on board, but if we hadn’t got them, they would have got us,” he said.

In 1945, he went back to Portsmouth and joined HMS Nelson. He said: “The war with Germany was over and we headed out east because the war with Japan was still going on. On the way we stopped in Malta. They welcomed us having been besieged for years and bombed by Germany and Italy.”

Atomic

Next they sailed along the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) where they joined an invasion fleet entering Singapore, which was held by Japanese.

“When we were in Trincomalee [in Ceylon],” Ernie remembered, “I was in a small sea boat with armed guards and our job was to stop any Japanese two-man submarines attacking the Nelson. I had to make up a pound-and-a-quarter TNT explosive charges. If we saw any subs we had to throw in the charges and the Marines would have shot them, but we didn’t see any.”

On the way they heard that two bombs had been dropped on Japan over the radio.

“We didn’t know what atomic bombs were then. All we knew is that we didn’t have to fight the Japanese because of them,” he said.

On returning to the UK, Ernie went back to work at van and car maker Ford in Dagenham. He worked there until 1963 then went to Ford at Basildon where they made tractors.

He became a foreman and stayed until he took early retirement in July 1986 when he was 61.

“I worked for 44 years at Ford’s, so when they offered me a good package to retire, I went home to Margaret [his wife] and she told me to take it,” he said.

Ernie was asked to go back as a factory guide, taking visitors around until the end of the ‘90s. “I thoroughly enjoyed being a guide.

“You met lots of different people. It was interesting work.

“Now I’ve been retired for 27 very happy years and in that time I’ve had three lovely granddaughters.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

12 minutes ago
Ronnie Jackson and Bradley Donovan have spoken of how their disabilities have spurred them on to sporting success.

In just two months, sport’s most inspirational men and women will return to the world stage, showcasing their determination to succeed at the elite level by competing at the Rio Paralympic Games.

10:00
 Resistance sliding challenge for charity at The Liberty Shopping Centre Romfrod.

Kneeling at the start line, a rush of adrenaline flows through my veins as I wait to make the 13-metre dash to the finish.

Yesterday, 16:30
Motorists on the A13 between Wennington and Rainham

Reckless drivers are endangering the lives of Havering residents by reaching speeds of up to 124mph, the fastest clocked in London last year.

Yesterday, 15:54
Lawrence Webb  ( Ukip )

A Havering councillor is standing as deputy of one of the candidates in Ukip’s leadership election.

Yesterday, 15:13
Luke Hudson (centre) with his mum and dad on his 21st birthday.

The son of a taxi driver who tragically died at the wheel of his cab has paid tribute to the “best dad anyone could have asked for”.

Yesterday, 12:16
Seven men have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday Picture: HMRC

Seven men, including one in Hornchurch, have been arrested and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday.

Yesterday, 07:00
Parents at Parsonage Farm Primary School fought off expansion in 2015

Councillors have criticised the borough’s plans to expand schools, claiming that school kitchens are already failing to provide hot meals for pupils.

Thu, 16:29
Police at the scene last night (credit: donatassimkus.com)

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a shooting in Gidea Park last night.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now