RAPID action must be taken to decide if Arctic Convoy veterans will be awarded a war medal, a government report has recommended.
An independent review of the military medals system has been completed, raising hopes that the Second World War heroes will finally receive proper recognition.
The study by former diplomat Sir John Holmes was placed in Parliament by Prime Minister David Cameron today.
While it does not go as far to recommend Arctic Convoy veterans receive a medal, Sir John’s report calls for a new military sub-committee of the Honours and Decorations Committee to be set up to advise on claims made by veterans.
Sir John said the sub-committee should comprise of at least three ‘experienced and credible figures’ not active in front line politics, an independent military expert, and a representative of the Armed Forces Covenant Reference Group.
He said: ‘The reconstituted HD Committee, on advice from the new military sub-committee, should be asked to look again rapidly at the main long-standing controversies to try to draw a line under them.
‘Top priority should be given to looking at those involving veterans from the Second World War, such as the campaign over the Arctic Convoys, for obvious reasons of the age of those concerned.’
Mr Cameron welcomed Sir John’s findings and ordered him to ‘implement his findings’.
He said: ‘I hope this will help to draw a line under past campaigns and provide a more open decision-making process in future.
‘I welcome the report and have asked Sir John to lead a second stage of work to make further recommendations using the principles he has proposed to implement his findings. This work will be completed as soon as possible in the Autumn.’