Newport war hero dies aged 91
9:00am Monday 4th February 2013 in News
A NEWPORT man who received a medal from the Russians in the 1980s for taking part in deadly Second World War convoy missions has died.
Ronald Batley featured in the Argus on June 29, 1987, when he was presented with the medal from the Soviet Embassy in London, thanking him for the part he and many others played delivering munitions across dangerous seas in sub-zero temperatures during the Second World War.
Able Seaman Batley was one of 52 crew members aboard the cargo ship SS Earlston, part of the PQ17 convoy en route from Glasgow to north Russia carrying 3,000 tonnes of military stores, vehicles, 33 aircraft and ammunition, when it was hit and sunk by a German U-boat torpedo on July 5, 1942. He survived eight days in an open lifeboat and finally made land in Finland where the Russians were engaged in fighting the Germans.
"He was frost-bitten and the Russians saved his life," explained his son Philip Batley.
"How he survived is quite remarkable. He wrote about it in his memoirs which he carried with him in a briefcase, for when he died."
A keen bowler, Mr Batley moved to Newport in 1965 and lived on Caerleon Road, working for British Dredging among other companies, before moving to Monmouth Court.
After a short illness Mr Batley died at the Royal Gwent Hospital on Thursday, January 17 this year at the age of 91.
His funeral will take place at 10.30am on Thursday, February 7, at Holy Trinity Church, Christchurch, Newport. He had recently celebrated his 91st birthday with his family.