THE campaign to give our Arctic Convoy heroes a medal has received royal backing.
Prince Michael of Kent spoke out about the lack of recognition for the Second World War sailors, 3,000 of whom died on freezing missions in the Arctic Circle.
The Queen’s cousin said this year – the 70th anniversary since the first of the convoys sailed to Russia – is the ‘right moment’ to finally honour the 66,500 brave men.
He added: ‘They were very young and they found themselves in these horrific conditions where, quite apart from the enemy, they had to contend with the cold.
‘They deserve every kind of respect, admiration and recognition.
‘The suffering they had was absolutely indescribable.’
The News’ 15-year Arctic Medal campaign hit national headlines after we revealed Prime Minister David Cameron had dropped his support for Arctic veterans.
The Daily Mail ran a front page story on the scandal yesterday and the BBC have broadcast a documentary about the convoys, in which Prince Michael made his comments about the issue.
The veterans are up against a wall of bureaucracy.
The Conservative Party made pre-election promises to award a medal the next time it came to power.
But instead, it ordered a MoD-run review into the medals system in July last year.
That review, which was branded a ‘whitewash’ by veterans, was stopped by the government last week and a new, independent review is now set to replace it.
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, raised the issue in the House of Commons yesterday and asked for reassurance that a new review will not make the ageing veterans wait even longer. But veterans minister Andrew Robathan offered no such assurance and said the review was ‘ongoing’.
This is despite no-one being appointed to run the independent review yet.
Arctic Convoy veteran Cdr Eddie Grenfell, 91, said: ‘It’s very confusing. The government has stopped the MoD’s review but Robathan says it is ongoing. The fact is we shouldn’t even have a review.
‘The Conservatives promised us a medal.
‘You can’t review a promise, you either honour it or you break it.’