Halcyon Class Minesweepers Halcyon Class Ships
New Arctic Emblem
Arctic Emblem
SBNO Reports
Ice Conditions
Climate Pay
Operation FB
Sweeping Policy



Source: Ministry of Defence: Veterans Agency

The Arctic Emblem

Service in the Arctic during the Second World War was recognised by the award of campaign stars at the end of the war.  The criteria for the Atlantic Star include service with the convoys to North Russia and those who served in the campaign in Norway in 1940 qualified for the 1939-45 Star on entry into theatre instead of having to complete six months’ operational service as was usual for that star.  There are no plans to introduce any new medals for Second World War service.  The Government is, however, in the process of introducing a new Arctic Emblem.

Mindful that those who served in the Arctic regions were often subjected to especially dangerous circumstances including extreme weather conditions and determined resistance from German forces, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues believe that the service given and the conditions undergone by the Arctic veterans warrant tangible recognition in the form of something that can be worn.  As a result, on 7 March 2005 the Prime Minister announced at a reception for Arctic veterans, the introduction of a new Arctic Emblem that can be worn as a unique, recognised addition to medals.

The design concept of the Arctic Emblem has been agreed with Arctic veterans’ representatives.  It will be a small metal star, mainly enamelled white, with a red dot in the centre and above it a scroll with the words “The Arctic” in gold letters.  The star represents the Polar Star, the white colouring symbolises ice and the red centre represents the field of the flags of the USSR and Norway.  The exact details of the design will be agreed with the contractor who will produce the Emblem, taking account of what is technically possible.

The Arctic Emblem is authorised for wear on the lapel, or above the left breast pocket, either on occasions when it is appropriate to wear medals, or on its own with either formal or informal dress. [Halcyon Webmaster: See note above confirming that the star may be pinned to the Atlantic Star or 1939 to 45 Star]. All those who served for at least one day north of the Arctic Circle (latitude 66◦ 32′ N) and west of the Urals between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945, in the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy, will qualify for the  Emblem. 

There will be no charge for the Emblem.  In common with the issue of campaign medals, the surviving next of kin may claim the Emblem on behalf of Arctic veterans who have died, but they will not be entitled to wear it.

Veterans or next of kin wishing to claim the Arctic Emblem should do so by completing the attached form as fully as possible and returning it to the address shown.  If there is uncertainty about details of service, information can be obtained from Ministry of Defence archives; details are given under “Service Records” on the Veterans Agency website.

The Arctic Emblem should be available for distribution in the summer of 2006.  Please note that because of the large number of applications already received it is not possible for the Ministry of Defence to acknowledge receipt of application forms or to check whether they have been received, or to deal with applications by telephone.

Application for Arctic Emblem - Questionnaire 


BBC News 11th October 2006

Arctic convoy veterans honoured

Arctic Convoy veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell
Cdr Eddie Grenfell campaigned for recognition for the veterans

The first veterans of the World War II Arctic convoys have received a special award to mark their bravery.

Arctic Emblems were presented in ceremonies on HMS Belfast, in London, and HMS Ark Royal, in Rosyth, Fife.

Veterans have long campaigned for their part in getting vital supplies to the then Soviet Union to be recognised.

About 5,000 veterans and next of kin of those who died will receive the emblem from the Veterans' Agency over the course of the weekend.

'Very happy'

Among the armed forces and Merchant Navy veterans to receive the award on HMS Belfast from new Veterans' Minister Derek Twigg was 86-year-old Commander Eddie Grenfell, who was instrumental in the campaign for recognition.

Cdr Grenfell, of Havant, Hampshire, said: "We are very happy with the outcome but the only question that we have is why did we have to wait so long? It should have been done right at the beginning."

Arctic Emblem
The Arctic Emblem marks the crucial role played by the convoys

He campaigned for a medal rather than an emblem to be awarded but a decision was made in 1946 not to create any more medals for WWII campaigns.

Ten veterans received their emblems in the ceremony on HMS Ark Royal.

Scotland's top Royal Navy officer, Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, said: "To say that they were crucial to the outcome of the war is not an understatement."

The convoys managed to deliver 12,755 tanks, 22,200 aircraft and 375,800 trucks, as well as four million tons of ammunition and other supplies to the USSR.

RAF planes and Army gunners on board defended the ships from German attacks from air and sea.

Mr Twigg said: "The Arctic Emblem is a mark of the nation's gratitude for incredible achievements in difficult and dangerous conditions."



Victory at last - a Star is born

WE'VE WON. The bravery and heroism of veterans of the Arctic convoys is to be officially recognised at long last.
After a hard-fought campaign the government has finally admitted what millions of people have known for years. It has acknowledged that servicemen who kept Russia supplied to help defeat the Nazis were unjustly ignored when medals were given out after the war.
Now The News can announce that all veterans who served in the frozen hell will be able to wear a special Arctic Star.
The star, which will be made of white enamel with a red dot to represent Russia, is designed to be pinned to veterans' existing campaign medals, honouring their heroism for the first time. It is the first of its kind as it has been designed by the veterans themselves.
It can be attached to either the Atlantic Star or the 1939-45 Star. All Arctic convoy veterans have at least one of these medals.
The turnaround represents a staggering victory for veterans, led by Cdr Eddie Grenfell, and for The News, which for the last eight years has pressed the government hard to change its mind.

23 December 2005

Source: portsmouthtoday.co.uk


Veterans flock to wear Arctic Star

Arctic veterans have flooded the Ministry of Defence with applications for the new star created to officially recognise one of the worst campaigns of the Second World War.

Hundreds of veterans who took part in the convoys to Russia between 1941 and 1945 and relatives of men who have died cannot wait to get their hands on the new Arctic Star which could be ready in the summer. Many of them have been in contact with The News and medal campaign leader Commander Eddie Grenfell, of Havant, to help get their applications sorted out.

'It's great that there has been such a great take-up of the Arctic Star,' said Cdr Grenfell. 'I know we are all looking forward to getting it and wearing it with pride.' Jock Dempster, of Dunbar, the chairman of the Scottish Russian Convoy Club, said: 'I can say that most of us up here will be getting the Arctic Star and pinning it on to a medal. We weren't happy with the proposal of a badge from Mr Blair and Eddie Grenfell has worked hard to get a compromise. It's important the star is on a medal and not a badge because otherwise it will be worth nothing.'

Some confusion has been created in letters from civil servants saying the star must be worn like a badge on the lapel instead of pinned on the Atlantic Star or 1939 to 45 Star as it was designed for.
However, Cdr Grenfell has written to veterans giving the exact detail of the agreement reached with Defence Secretary John Reid and Rear-Admiral Peter Wilkinson.


10 March 2006

Source: portsmouthtoday.co.uk

This site was last updated 17 Januar 2012