Twin ceremonies will see Arctic veterans honoured at last

Commander Eddie Grenfell, leader of the Arctic medal campaign
Commander Eddie Grenfell, leader of the Arctic medal campaign
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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VETERANS who have long fought for an Arctic Convoy medal are to be finally honoured next week, The News can reveal.

There will be a ceremony at Downing Street in London on Tuesday for the surviving veterans to receive the Arctic Star.

But one veteran in particular will have his own ceremony a little closer to home, at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Commander Eddie Grenfell, still recovering from recent problems with his heart, is too unwell to make the journey to the capital for the main celebration.

So a senior naval officer will travel to the city on Tuesday to present him with his Arctic Star.

Trudie Grenfell, Eddie’s daughter, told The News: ‘It is going to be a truly amazing day.

‘It has been such a long campaign with so much hard work put in, but my dad is a fighter and he won. It is going to be very exciting for him.

‘It was clear he wouldn’t be well enough to make the trip to London. We thought about getting a private ambulance and things like that but it was too much of a risk for his heart.

‘So when it was offered that it could be wherever we wanted, dad suggested Portsmouth Guildhall.’

Full details of both events are expected to be announced before Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the first Arctic Stars to be worn by veterans of the bitter convoys to Russia have been produced by experts at the Royal Mint.

Gavin Elliott, from the Royal Mint, said: ‘Each medal is individual.

‘It’s important the quality of the medal is right. Each one is handled with great care and attention.

‘We take great pride in what we are doing.

‘We’re conscious this is very important to those who will be receiving the medal.’

Although nearly seven decades have passed since the last Second World War campaign medals were produced, the Arctic Star has been made in the same way as the 1939-1945 stars.

It is thought between 200 and 400 sailors – who are all now in their late 80s at least – are alive today to receive the medals.

Applications for a medal can be made online by visiting veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm.

You can also write to The Arctic Star, MOD Medal Office, Imjin Barracks, Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1HW.