Russian convoy veteran

PUBLISHED: 10:56 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 10 June 2010

BRIXINGTON S naval war hero Ron Pettitt DSM, died on Sunday night aged 90 – and friends and admirers are invited to a special service in Exeter Crematorium next Thursday.

BRIXINGTON'S naval war hero Ron Pettitt DSM, died on Sunday night aged 90 - and friends and admirers are invited to a special service in Exeter Crematorium next Thursday.

Ron, of Partridge Road, who earned the Distinguished Service Medal, was a favourite with the Russians, having travelled there many times.

He was even invited to St Petersburg for a festival celebrating the 65th anniversary of the first ship convoy to reach Russia during the Second World War.

The former petty officer, in charge of firing and communications on HMS Duke of York, took his first trip to modern Russia in 2002 with the Russian Convoy Club (RCC), and he had been back every year since.

He was highly regarded as a community fundraiser, having worked tirelessly for the Knapp Cross Community Centre, while the Russian people had a deep affection for him and he fought to ensure convoy crews were recognised for their dangerous work.

Without people like Ron, the-then USSR may not have survived the Nazi onslaught of operation Barbarossa, and the Allies may have lost the war - or at least seen it prolonged, costing thousands more lives.

As part of the crew of the Duke of York, Mr Pettitt was one of a team who helped sink the pocket battleship Scharnhorst when the Duke of York encountered the Russian convoys in 1943.

The public are invited to a service at Exeter Crematorium, on Thursday, June 25, at 11.45am.

A full tribute and obituary will be in Next week's Journal.

Friend Cllr Trevor Cope said: "I'm stunned. He was a good friend, and I will miss him."

Donations should go to Exmouth Royal British legion.

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