My father , Wilfred (Bill) Kirby, an Englishman, was in the Royal Marines Band in 1939 at the beginning of the war. He spent 18 months on RN battleships on convoys to Russia as well as some time in the Atlantic. He also spent time as a commando although he never spoke about this. I only learnt after his passing in July this year that he was part of the Norway "heavy water" raids en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_heavy_water_sabotage from a family friend. He left the Navy in 1956 after the Queens Coronation - the bandsmen were not allowed to unlist after the war until it was over!
Dad had the usual Arctic Star, Atlantic Star medals that they all got but there was never any special recognition. In 2002, Russia presented at 60th Anniversary Medal to those still living in recognition of the convoys - presented by the NZ Russian Commissioner. They also presented a 65th Medal in 2007. These meant so much to him.
Mum told me this morning that he has been posthumously presented the Ushakov Medal en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ushakov_Medal and it arrived by courier yesterday. He would have been very proud of this. I know we are.
I haven't seen the movies yet - perhaps this weekend (looking at the weather).
There is a small DVD interview of him - mostly of the convoys. I tried to talk to him about his experiencies but he had a very big brick wall up when it came to the commandos. All I had been told by him was that he got thrown out of a plane over Norway and he turned up in a pub in London 18 months later! Mum didn't know either, except he didn't like the Norweigens. Dad had said to her that the locals would welcome you in the front door... while the husband would go out the back door and get the Germans. I saw him "drop the wall" once - at the bowling club 25 years ago after a club member (who was a driver for a general in Africa in WW2) was mouthing off about the interogations that the Germans had done. Dad slammed his drink on the bar and yelled "what makes you think we were so damn pure? It was war!"... and wall went straight back up...
As for wearing the medals. I have been told that we are not entitled to wear the 60th and 65th medals (Dad's wishes) but I will be wearing his Ushakov at the dawn service next year.