Queen’s tribute to ‘courage and sacrifice’ of Arctic Convoy sailors

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Falklands veteran Kevin Porter from Fareham

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THE Queen has paid tribute to the men who served in the Second World War Arctic Convoys.

As the ageing veterans continue their long fight to convince the government they deserve a medal, Her Majesty passed on her gratitude to the 66,500 men who ran a gauntlet of German warplanes and U-boats to supply the Soviet Union during the war.

The tribute came at a private ceremony aboard HMS Belfast in London attended by British veterans of the Arctic convoys and veterans from Russia.

The event was also attended by The Duke of Gloucester who read out the Queen’s message.

It said: ‘As you gather on the seventy-first anniversary of the first Arctic Convoy, we again remember and acknowledge the courage shown and the sacrifices made by British and Russian servicemen in the name of freedom.

‘In this year of my Diamond Jubilee, I am pleased to send my warm good wishes to those veterans who have travelled from Moscow, and their British comrades, in commemorating this historic occasion on HMS Belfast today.’

Veterans made toasts to the 3,000 British men who died on the convoys with tots of Pusser’s Rum and Russian Standard Vodka.