At long last, an historical injustice has been righted

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Throughout 16 long years of campaigning, his resolve never wavered.

Whenever he came up against infuriating intransigence or blood-boiling bureaucracy, Commander Eddie Grenfell refused to contemplate defeat.

Instead, at every setback he simply vowed to redouble his efforts to ensure that what he regarded as an historical injustice was eventually righted.

Yesterday, he finally got his reward.

It was a moving occasion for all present as Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards presented the 93-year-old with the Arctic Star medal during a ceremony at Portsmouth Guildhall.

And there was pride and emotion in London too, where around 40 fellow Arctic Convoy veterans personally received their medals from prime minister David Cameron at No 10 Downing Street.

This was the end of a long road of fighting for what they believed was rightfully theirs.

At last each could look at the medal pinned to their chest and feel absolutely vindicated. They had got what they so richly deserved.

Others with less resolve may have fallen by the wayside as a succession of politicians prevaricated and Whitehall mandarins seemingly put barriers in the veterans’ way.

But they were never going to be a match for Cdr Grenfell and his band of men, who 70 years ago braved freezing conditions and German U-boat and warplane attacks to keep vital supply lines open to Russia during the Second World War.

Though Cdr Grenfell has had some choice words to say about certain politicians he has encountered along the way, yesterday he was dignity personified as he thanked the prime minister for the part he had played in eventually helping to achieve justice for the veterans.

It was typical of the man.

He has fought tirelessly for a cause he passionately believed in. And his comrades now wearing their medals owe him a debt of thanks for all his efforts on their behalf.

Cdr Grenfell, we salute you.