Path to recognition has been far from smooth

Sailors honing their skills at Wellington Barracks in preparation for their Royal guard duties

‘Royal duties ahoy!’

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WHEN Prime Minister David Cameron announced last December that he had recommended the Honours and Decorations Committee to proceed with awarding the Arctic Convoy Medal, it was a breakthrough moment.

It only came after an independent medal review carried out by former diplomat Sir John Holmes, pictured.

But the coalition government had been criticised earlier – in June 2011, there had been an angry confrontation between veterans minister Andrew Robathan and Cdr Eddie Grenfell about breaking the pre-election pledge of a campaign medal.

Portsmouth South’s Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said: ‘It’s brilliant news.

‘I’m absolutely delighted. Nothing could give me greater pleasure than seeing justice done for these brave men, who have been campaigning so vigorously, and for everyone who’s been involved to get this far. This is proper recognition, long overdue, and the sooner they get the medals and they’re on their chests, the better.’

Gosport’s Tory MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘This is very good news and I’m so pleased that so many people have worked so hard for so long and it has finally come to fruition. The only sadness is that it has taken so long, and that so many of these incredible guys who gave so much are no longer alive.’

Portsmouth North’s Tory MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘I’m delighted, and it’s great that they are prioritising. I look forward to seeing the medals being worn soon.’