Opposition mounts to Arctic veterans’ medal decision

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AN INFLUENTIAL group of Conservatives has called on the government to allow Arctic convoy veterans to accept a Russian medal.

There was shock when it was announced last week veterans of the harrowing Second World War campaign were told they could not accept the Medal of Ushakov for valour for their role in the campaign.

Now the Conservative Friends of Russia has pledged to ask the Foreign Office to review the decision, which was taken because there is a stipulation that requires such rewards to reflect actions within the previous five years only.

British service personnel need permission from the Foreign Office to accept medals from other countries even though the USA and Australia permitted their veterans to receive the medal.

Richard Royal, CFoR chairman, said: ‘These veterans played a vital role in the war, ensuring that supply routes to one of our main allies remained open despite the incredibly difficult conditions, and they deserve to be rewarded for their bravery irrespective of the time that has elapsed.’

Between 1941 and 1945 British warships escorted 78 convoys carrying thousands of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, trucks and tanks, fuel, food, tools and other vital supplies through the Barents Sea to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel in a voyage Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world.’