26 February 2013

Arctic Convoy Medal and Bomber Command Clasp Issue Imminent

The Guardian is reporting that surviving veterans of the Arctic convoys and Bomber Command will receive new medals or clasps within a fortnight following the government's decision to acknowledge their bravery during WWII.

Up to 250,000 veterans (So many? unless this includes relatives too) will be eligible for the decorations, but those still living or their widows will receive the awards first, the defence minister Mark Francois will announce on Tuesday.  Production of the Arctic Star medal and the Bomber Command clasp will begin this week after the final designs were agreed. The former has been based on the second world war stars, and the clasp is similar to the one given to veterans of the Battle of Britain.

The decision to award the decorations was made last December following a review by the former diplomat Sir John Holmes, who was asked by the prime minister to review the rules on military medals.

The Arctic convoys are credited with having played an important role in buoying Russia as Hitler mounted an invasion. The supplies helped the Red Army to push back against the Nazis, but this effort came at a cost.
More than 3,000 seamen were killed during 78 convoys that delivered 4m tonnes of cargo. Eighty-five merchant ships and 16 Royal Navy vessels were destroyed. It is thought 66,500 men sailed on the convoys, but only 200 are alive today.

Once again good news but too late in the day for the vast majority of Arctic Convoy and Bomer Command veterans. Still I am sure my father will be pleased to have a clasp to his 1939-45 star


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yes, from what I read on the subject it took an inordinate amount of guts to do this job. Too late indeed.

jams o donnell said...

Indeed.Take my father: He was on raids when 16 thanks to a forged Irish birth cert