A FORMER sailor from Chester claims he was better treated by the Russians than the council in his home city.
Ron Farr, now 78, served on HMS Renown during the war and was involved in the Arctic convoys which helped re-supply the Soviet Union, which had become an ally of the West against Nazi aggressors.
He returned for 10 days to mark the VE Day celebrations along with other servicemen. The men were given medals by Russian officials and claim the recognition of their service puts Chester Council to shame.
Chester's planning committee turned down their application to move their Navy club from Lower Bridge Street to the side of the city's railway station, where they would have had disabled access, because it would have been inappropriate.
Mr Farr said: "We have been treated better by the Russians than by our own council.
"The club now has no proper home, even though these people fought in World War ll.
"I'll never forgive the council for calling us an inappropriate club, they have treated us very badly."
The club left its premises in Lower Bridge Street last year and had wanted to move to the area around the station, but it is currently being redeveloped as a
hub for nightlife. The veterans, from the Russian Convoy Club and the North Russia Club, were guests of honour at ceremonies in the city marking the end of the Second World War.
Approximately 3,000 sailors from the merchant and Royal Navy men died in the Arctic between 1941 and 1945 while attempting to deliver the vital supplies.
A few hundred survivors of the Arctic convoys were recently invited to Murmansk to remember those who lie at the bottom of the Barents Sea.
Mr Farr said although he had only joined the Navy in 1944, aged 17, as an associate member of the Russian Convoy Club he had been one of those invited to the remembrance services in Russia.
In total 78 convoys sailed to and from northern Russia during the war and supplied 5,000 tanks and 7,000 aircraft, as well as trucks, ammunition and other supplies. But more than 100 ships were lost in the campaign.
Mr Farr had been a radar operator and said the Russian people had hailed him and his fellow sailors has heroes.
He said: "We were invited to various parties around Murmansk where they gave us plenty of food and drink and we were hailed as heroes.
"We were taken to a school and the children were told we had saved Russia.
"Not that I did much myself, but it was nice to see that."
As an able seaman Ron Farr served with the Royal Navy until 1949 when he returned to his job as a clerk.
Father of eight children and grandfather to 18, he retired early and devoted his time to working as secretary of the Royal Navy Club in Chester until it was forced to close down.
A spokesman for Chester City Council said: "The much-needed regeneration of that part of Chester will benefit the whole community."