A VETERAN from East Renfrewshire headed north at the weekend to take part in a commemoration for the Russian Arctic Convoys of the Second World War.

Edwin Leadbetter, 92, was among the brave service personnel who put their lives on the line by taking part in the perilous convoys.

More than 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen died from the bitter cold and enemy attacks on the missions to transport vital supplies from Scotland to Soviet ports in the Arctic Circle.

A total of 78 convoys delivered more than four million tonnes of supplies, including 7,000 planes and 5,000 tanks, between 1941 and 1945.

Sharon Higgins, deputy head of welfare services at Poppyscotland, said: “The route taken by the convoys was exceptionally dangerous, especially in winter, and conditions were among the worst faced by any Allied sailors during World War Two.

“In addition to battling the elements, many of the convoys were attacked by German submarines, aircraft and warships.

“No-one can underestimate the role played by the thousands of brave sailors who embarked on these perilous but pivotal missions.”

Mr Leadbetter, from Newton Mearns, was awarded the Arctic Star medal for his service on the convoys.

He was among those invited to Loch Ewe, in Wester Ross, on Sunday for a ceremony at the Rubha Nan Sasan coastal battery in honour of those involved in the wartime missions.

The invitation was made through the Unforgotten Forces project – a collaboration of 15 organisations which supports older veterans and their families in Scotland.

The trip included a three-night stay in Gairloch as part of Poppyscotland’s Break Away service.

Ms Higgins added: “We owe so much to veterans such as these and it is a privilege to be able to provide them with the opportunity to return to what is, for them, such a poignant location.”

Hugh Henderson, chairman of Fares4Free, which is part of Unforgotten Forces, added: “It is wonderful to see this special trip going ahead.”

For more information about the Unforgotten Forces project or ways in which you can support the Poppyscotland charity, visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-help/unforgotten-forces