A man from East Sheen was at last rewarded with a medal for his role in the Arctic convoys of the Second World War.

John Bennett, 98, attended a reception at the Russian Embassy in London on Thursday, September 18, where he and other veterans received the Ushakov medal.

Until last year the British Government refused to let veterans like Mr Bennett, of Sheen Gate Gardens, receive the medal, which is named after the famous Russian admiral Fyodor Ushakov.

In late 1940, Mr Bennett was enlisted into the Royal Navy where he joined the HMS London, a county-class cruiser, at Chatham.

His first involvement on the vessel was in a major battle in the Atlantic against the German battleships Bismarck and Prince Eugen.

The first Arctic convoy run to Archangel was in September 1941 when the HMS London took the British and American Mission, headed by Lord Beaverbrook and Averell Harriman, to Moscow.

He was part of six further Arctic convoys, with the last in late 1942.

Mr Bennett was finally demobbed in 1946, when he rejoined British Transport Hotels on the railway. He worked for the company before the war and continued in his post until retiring in 1981, aged 65.

Much of his time of the railway was spent as a senior steward where he looked after the Queen and Royal Family when they travelled by train.

His son-in-law, Leslie Wright, of Vicarage Road, said: "We are so proud of all the thing he achieved and that he went to war and came back safely.

"He is still very active - he will wake up in the morning and always find something to do, whether it's popping into Richmond or going up to the city to see his old cronies.

"He enjoys talking to people, particuarly young people - he doesn't want to join any old peoples' group because he says they are too old for him."

Mr Bennett previously lived in Pinner with his wife Jessica, until she died 18 years ago, but in 2003, he was convinced to join his family in East Sheen.