A WAR veteran, who has campaigned for 15 years for recognition of the efforts of those who served on the perilous Arctic Convoys, has been dealt a blow by the Prime Minister.

Roy Dykes, 92, of Lynch Hill Park, Whitchurch, was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, and was among those who sailed on vital missions across the Arctic Ocean to deliver war supplies to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945.

But those who risked their lives in what was described by Winston Churchill as ‘the worst journey in the world,’ have never been awarded a commemorative medal for their efforts.

The campaigners had been given hope after the Conservatives pledged their support while in Opposition.

However, this week, a letter sent by David Cameron to Sir George Young, Leader of the Commons and North West Hampshire MP, who has backed the veterans’ campaign, apparently suggests the Prime Minister is back-tracking on honouring the men.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Mr Dykes said Mr Cameron assured campaigners they would receive medals for their bravery if the Conservatives came to power.

The father-of-two added: “Mr Cameron said he would give us the medal and promised it to us, but so far this hasn’t happened.”

The veterans were given a special Arctic Emblem in 2006, following years of campaigning. But Mr Dykes, a former Whitchurch mayor, said this was seen as a “compromise” and described it as “the sort of thing you find in Kellog’s Cornflakes.” Only 10,000 out of a potential 66,500 badges were applied for.

Campaigners were hoping the Arctic Medal would be struck and awarded once the Conservatives were in power. However, the Prime Minister’s letter – which has not officially been made public – apparently said those who took part in the Arctic Convoys have already been recognised because the Atlantic Star Medal was extended to those who served in the Arctic convoys. Mr Dykes described the news as “disgraceful.”

Campaigners argue that 95 per cent of the 66,500 men who served in the Arctic Convoys had already earned the Atlantic Star before the convoy missions.

Mr Dykes, a grandfather of four, added: “I went on 16 of those convoys. They really were very bad. We were constantly attacked.”

The veteran said Sir George has previously supported the campaign, but had failed to let him know about the letter. Mr Dykes said: “It’s quite wrong.”

Just under 3,000 British sailors and merchant seamen lost their lives during attacks by U-boats and Luftwaffe bombers on the mission. There are now only 200 Arctic Convoy veterans still alive.

The Coalition Government ordered the Ministry of Defence to review the medals system in July 2010.

A spokesman from Downing Street told The Gazette: “The PM has been absolutely clear that all those who have served our country so admirably, especially WWII veterans, should receive the recognition that they so justly deserve. But we cannot pre-empt the outcome of the Medals Review.”

The spokesman was unable to confirm the details of the letter sent to Sir George, who also declined to comment.

The campaign for an Arctic Convoys medal has been backed by 47 MPs from all parties who signed a Parliamentary petition to put pressure on Downing Street.

The Ministry of Defence has claimed a new Arctic Convoys medal would cost £14million. But medal experts believe the actual cost would be £600,000.