Veterans press on with medals fight

Commander Eddie Grenfell holds his Arctic Star
Commander Eddie Grenfell holds his Arctic Star
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ARCTIC convoy veterans have vowed to press ahead with demands for the government to relax its rules surrounding foreign medals.

The Russians want to give Arctic convoy veterans the Medal of Ushakov, a medal for bravery, in recognition of their heroic efforts during the Second World War.

But as reported in The News, the British government refuses to allow it to be given to the veterans.

The Foreign Office says for a medal to be awarded by a foreign state there has to be a specific service to the country concerned and that it should have happened within the previous five years.

Now the leader of the recently-won Arctic medal campaign, Commander Eddie Grenfell, has said he wants to start a new campaign to see his colleagues honoured.

Cdr Grenfell is currently recovering from a period of ill health brought on by problems with his heart.

He said: ‘I intend starting a new campaign when well enough to do so.

‘Its aim will be to convince David Cameron that his foreign secretary William Hague is behaving childishly by disallowing British Arctic veterans from accepting the prestigious Russian Ushakov medal for bravery.

‘This is a slap in the face for British Arctic veterans, more so since American, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand governments are allowing their Arctic veterans to accept it.’

Cdr Grenfell says British veterans feel embarrassed when meeting colleagues from other nations who have been allowed to accept the medal.

‘British Arctic veterans who left this country after the war for better lives in Australia and Canada will receive the Ushakov medal,’ he added.

‘But the British veterans who remained to rebuild this country will not.’

The Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, has previously written to the veterans to say the Russians will not give up the fight for them to receive the medal.

The ambassador said the Russian embassy would continue to make the case to the British authorities for the acceptance of the bravery award.

After a long and often bitter battle for justice, which was backed by The News, veterans finally won their fight for 
an Arctic Star in December, and 
many of them have since received the honour.

The convoys kept Russia supplied to keep fighting the Nazis on Germany’s eastern front.