N ow this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ So said Winston Churchill 69 years ago in one of many wartime pronouncements that still resonate in British hearts today.
He was, of course, referring to the victory over the Afrika Korps at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, a triumph which altered the course of the biggest conflict in world history.
We hope today that, before too long, people will look back at this moment in time as that at which another campaign took a decisive turn towards victory.
We refer to the fight for a specific medal for the men of the Arctic Convoys.
The bravery of those who risked their lives – and those who died – was not lost on Churchill, who described the journey to and from Russia as the most dangerous in the world.
He was right, just as the many who want proper recognition for veterans are right.
The number of supporters will have been swelled further this Remembrance weekend by an excellent BBC news report on the convoy missions.
And we are pleased to see that yesterday the Daily Mail took up the cudgels with a front-page lead exposing the terrible injustice dealt to veterans by the refusal of successive governments to grant them a specific medal for their heroism.
The battle has of course been fought for years, with The News doing all it can to achieve justice at last.
Many times campaigners have been rebuffed. Each time they have come back.
They will again after Defence Minister Andrew Robathan gave a non-committal reply to Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt in the Commons yesterday.
As is shown by readers’ letters we publish today, there is a feeling of great shame in the hearts of many at the obduracy of our government.
We truly believe though that the tide must turn in the direction of right and justice – and that veterans will win their case.