THIS is the medal Arctic Convoy veterans hoped they would get before David Cameron turned his back on them in a crushing betrayal.
The News can reveal for the first time what the medal for the 66,500 heroes who braved Winston Churchill’s ‘worst journey in the world’ would look like if Mr Cameron honoured his Tory party’s pre-election promise to finally end 65 years of waiting.
The Arctic Star would cost the government under £1million. It would be awarded to the surviving 200 veterans and to the next of kin of the 3,000 men killed on the convoys and the thousands of veterans who have died since the war.
Its design is based on other Second World War ‘star’ medals awarded for service in the Atlantic, Africa, Italy, Pacific, and Burma.
Campaigners say the old star casts from those medals could be cheaply reused to make the new medal to reward the bravery of the men who braved sub-zero missions to supply the Soviet Union during the war.
Arctic veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell, 91, of Portsea, posted his design to Mr Cameron twice in the last year but has received no reply.
He said: ‘This is all we want. We don’t want anything different or unique, we just want a medal the same as the other campaigns got 65 years ago.’
Cdr Grenfell, whose Arctic Medal campaign has been backed by The News for the last 15 years, explained the colours in his ribbon design.
He said: ‘The green is the colour for the merchant navy which was protected by the light blue of the Royal Air Force and the darker blue of the Royal Navy. The white is for the Arctic snow and the red is for the army gunners based on the merchant ships.’
In opposition, Tory leaders told the Arctic veterans they would get a medal the next time the Conservative Party came to power.
Veterans were also buoyed by David Cameron’s public support for them in parliament earlier this year. But they now feel betrayed after The News revealed the Prime Minister sent a letter to a cabinet minister saying the Arctic veterans have had enough recognition because they received a medal for service in the Atlantic – a separate campaign which was 800 miles away.
The government has now pledged a new review into the issue. But Cdr Grenfell said: ‘We can’t keep on waiting. We need the medal we were promised now, not another costly review.’