MP urges quick results for Arctic medal heroes

A Merlin helicopter from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose has been training with HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth Naval Base as part of her Rotary Wing Trials

Helicopter puts flight deck crew through its paces

Have your say

PORTSMOUTH South MP Mike Hancock has written to the Prime Minister urging him to speed up the Arctic medal process.

Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed on Wednesday that Arctic Convoy veterans will finally be recognised by the British government for their heroic feats during the Second World War.

Mike Hancock

Mike Hancock

Now Mr Hancock, who has campaigned alongside veterans in their battle for a medal, has sent a letter to Mr Cameron asking him to act quickly.

He wrote: ‘I am very pleased to hear that you have recommended at the Honours and Decorations Committee to proceed with awarding the Arctic Convoy Medal.

‘Thank goodness justice has finally been served and this country’s debt to these men has finally been honoured.

‘May I ask that you ensure the decision to present the medal is made post-haste.

‘Most of these men are very old and in Portsmouth there have been some individuals eligible for the award who have died over the past few months.’

Mr Hancock told The News: ‘They could get this together fairly quickly. All they have to decide on is a ribbon and if it’s going to be a star it just needs to be cast.

‘I wrote to Mr Cameron asking for him to give a commitment to get this through all of the outstanding procedures as soon as possible and make sure that with all of the veterans who died, their next of kin should be contacted so they can receive the medal at the same time.’

Commander Eddie Grenfell, 92, who led the Portsmouth Arctic Convoy campaign for justice, said he commended Mr Hancock’s actions but said an official from the Ministry of Defence told him it could take up to six months before medals are awarded.

He said: ‘More people will be gone by that time. There are a few hundred veterans left. Back in 2000 when I was the chairman of the national branch we had 1,000 members still alive.

‘Twelve years later there can only be a few hundreds.

‘In Portsmouth it had 33 members but there are just three members now.’

An MoD spokesman said there were plans for veterans to be awarded the medals, including posthumous awards, by the spring.