VETERANS of the Second World War Arctic Convoys are finally to receive their own medal, Prime Minister David Cameron announced today.
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Cameron said that the former servicemen will be awarded an Arctic Convoy Star medal.
He said: “I am very pleased that some of the brave men of the Arctic Convoys will get the recognition they so richly deserve for the very dangerous work they did.”
The announcement follows years of campaigning for recognition.
One of the 200 remaining veterans of the convoy missions is 93-year-old Roy Dykes, from Whitchurch, who has been campaigning for more than 15 years for a medal.
The grandfather-of-four, of Lynch Hill Park went on 16 missions between 1941 and 1945.
The former Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander on board HMS Honeysuckle said the missions were the “hardest” four years of his life.
The Arctic Convoys began in 1941 with Merchant and Royal Navy seamen sailing through sub-zero conditions to provide supplies to Soviet Russia, a war ally at the time. The losses were heavy, as the convoys were attacked by German aircraft, U-Boats and surface craft. They nonetheless managed to take £500m worth of munitions, including 21,000 aircraft, and 3,599 tanks to the Soviets, aiding their bitter resistance to the Nazi invaders.
The Government’s decision follows an inquiry earlier this year by Sir John Holmes into the rules on awarding military medals.