World War Two Arctic convoy veterans to receive campaign medals

  Chronos the 2nd 07:59 20 Dec 2012


This is long long overdue and in my opinion a shocking omission by successive governments over the past 65 years. My late father was very reluctant to talk about his time on the convoys but I will say from the snippets I picked up over the years, it was a horrendous time. And for the many sacrifices made by the veterans of these convoys not to be recognised for over 65 years is an absolute disgrace. Particularly when you have each and every year many completely faceless civil servants given all sorts of recognition. From OBE's ETC to knighthoods.

In memory of my dad I say to the lads of the Arctic convoys,on behalf of the country a very simple thanks.

  Quickbeam 08:18 20 Dec 2012

It was a war front that seems to only get fleeting mentions in the history books in an in passing way.

It does seem a bit late to award medals though with so many no longer alive, I would have though a memorial like the new Bomber Command one would be better.

  Chronos the 2nd 08:26 20 Dec 2012

Mr Grenfell's complaint about the time is has taken the PM to deliver on his promise is understandable but, given that relations with Russia have been less cordial of late, I would think it took a lot of consultation to decide what Russia's reaction would be.

You do not seriously believe a wait of 65 years is justifiable?

  spuds 10:07 20 Dec 2012

Like that what as already been stated, is this something that is to little and to late. I would suspect that very few people who might be on the list for any medals have since left this world, and others who are still surviving do not want reminding of the sufferings seen and heard on the days past. Even the families of those past very brave people may not even know what their relations did in WW2.

A suitable monument located in a suitable place might be the right reward, for those that want to remember history?.

  Quickbeam 10:44 20 Dec 2012

Perhaps incorporating something permanently on the existing HMS Belfast site would be ideal seeing as HMS Belfast was on the Arctic Convoys for a few years herself.

  Woolwell 15:27 20 Dec 2012

fourm member

I think that the USSR were very aware of our capabilities to operate in northern latitudes. A medal about WW2 would not have increased their awareness.

Russia has for some time recognised the efforts of those on the Arctic convoys and offered a medal in 1985 see this. I would think that with the new medal they would be supportive.

For all: You have to remember that the majority of those ships had open bridges (fully exposed to the elements), ice on deck (which is a major hazard regarding topweight, etc), gales, high seas, poor food and the inability to get dry and warm. Drying wet cold clothes would have been very difficult.

  spuds 17:59 20 Dec 2012


There was a program on Sunday 09/12/2012 Channel 4 - 'How the Bismark Sank HMS Hood', and how a group of specialist experts made attempts at recovering a bell from that ship, plus coming to a solution how HMS Hood was actually sunk.

The team arrived in the 'good season' but had to give up at times due to severe weather conditions. The program showed footage of the convoys in the usual not good seasons, something not for the faint-hearted, and well worth watching if the program is still available.

  Aitchbee 18:09 20 Dec 2012

As Quickbeam said, it's a bit late now to be start awardin' medals. Subsidised energy bills to old people who can't survive the low temperatures in their homes, would be a more befitting award.

  Woolwell 18:24 20 Dec 2012

Aitchbee - How far would that go and how would that recognise the efforts during the war?

  Aitchbee 18:32 20 Dec 2012

Woolwell - it's hard to quantify ... but anybody who is now in their 80's or 90's, probably deserves some sort of 'pat on the back' for their unseen contributions to the war effort of all those years ago.

  Woolwell 12:16 21 Dec 2012

Aitchbee - the cost of producing each medal is probably under £100 (I don't know the exact figure). There are only about 200 veterans left so total cost around £250,000 or perhaps even half a million. Not a lot to subsidise bills is it? The point is recognising the special circumstance which they had to endure.

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