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.
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."
The Arctic Emblem marks the crucial role played by
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."