ARCTIC Convoy veteran Roy Dykes has spoken of his delight at being told he will get the medal he so richly deserves.
Mr Dykes, 93, of Lynch Hill Park, was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1945 tasked with supplying Soviet Russia – a Second World War ally – with vital supplies.
The supply missions exposed British seaman to attack from German U-boats and aircraft. Mr Dykes, who served on HMS Honeysuckle, a British Corvette, also had to contend with sub-zero temperatures and basic rations.
Prime Minister David Cameron today announced that the servicemen of the Arctic Convoys 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.”
Mr Dykes has campaigned tirelessly for more than 15 years for the Arctic Convoy members from the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy to be recognised with a medal.
He said he was delighted at the Government’s announcement.
“It is about the best Christmas present that we have had for a long time,” he said. “It is a great relief.”
He added: “I was getting a bit concerned about it, and frustrated that nothing had been done. For over two-and-a-half years of this present Government we have not been told what has been happening. So the announcement is very much a surprise.”
Of the 66,000 sailors that took part in the Arctic Convoys, only 200 are still alive today.
“I wish it could have come a bit earlier,” he said. “Personally I wish a few more servicemen were alive to receive the medals. We will do our best to see that they get them.”
Mr Cameron’s announcement follows an inquiry earlier this year by Sir John Holmes into the rules on awarding military medals.
In July, Sir John boosted the veteran’s case by concluding that a medal should be “top priority”.