Just the latest letdown in a 14-year campaign by veterans

HMS St Albans (background) with the Russian frigate Yaroslav Mudry Picture: PO Lee Blease

Portsmouth frigate escorts Russian warship through English Channel

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THE News is supporting veterans who want a medal for the Royal Navy sailors and merchant seamen who served in the Second World War Arctic Convoys.

Our award-winning Last Chance for Justice campaign began in 1997 after Arctic Convoy veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell, who then lived in Havant, was elected leader of the Arctic Medal Campaign by fellow veterans in the Russian Convoy Club.

The campaign saw 46,000 local people sign a petition and more than 500 veterans and supporters march on Whitehall to hand it in to Number 10 Downing Street.

In 2006, after nine years of pressure, the then Labour government relented and gave the veterans a lapel badge they can wear called the Arctic Star Emblem.

But the unpopular emblem was not a medal and only 10,000 of the 66,500 veterans eligible applied for one.

During the early 2000s, the campaign attracted the attention of senior Conservative politicians – including the successive party leaders Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith who visited The News and promised the next Tory government would award an Arctic Star Medal.

The News wrote to and phoned every MP at the time asking for their support and Early Day Motions calling for a medal were signed by hundreds of MPs from across the political spectrum.

Our records show Prime Minister David Cameron pledged his support for the Arctic Medal Campaign in a phone call with former News reporter David Maddox at 11.30am on July 19, 2004.

But despite this support from the Tories, the coalition government has not awarded the Arctic veterans a medal.

Instead, in July 2010 the Ministry of Defence was asked to review the system for awarding medals. The review has no timeframe for when it will end and is being conducted by the same sort of civil servants who were against the Arctic Convoy veterans from the very start.