Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

Arctic convoy veterans to get medal

Graphic showing the proposed Arctic Star medal (MoD/PA)

Veterans of the Second World War Arctic convoys will begin receiving medals recognising their heroism and bravery "within weeks", the Government will announce.

Defence minister Mark Francois will announce that production of the new Arctic Star and a clasp for veterans of the RAF's Bomber Command will start this week.

The move follows David Cameron's announcement in December that he was accepting the recommendations of a review of military decorations by the former diplomat Sir John Holmes.

A long-running campaign to honour the achievements of the seamen who kept open the vital supply routes to the Soviet Union in what Winston Churchill called "the worst journey in the world" had previously been rejected on grounds of protocol.

Sir John also concluded that Bomber Command veterans had been treated "inconsistently" with their counterparts in Fighter Command.

Up to 250,000 veterans and the families of those who have died could be eligible to receive the new awards from as early as next month.

Priority for the new awards will be given to applications from veterans and widows. Other next of kin will also able to apply and will receive their awards shortly afterwards.

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