Arctic convoy veterans to be honoured within weeks
9:01am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in Local
ARCTIC convoy veterans and their families in Bolton have welcomed news that a new medal hailing their bravery could be made available within weeks.
The Bolton News reported in January how veterans of the Arctic campaign during the Second World War were to be awarded the new Arctic Star medal.
Veterans have campaigned for decades for a dedicated medal recognising their part in the campaign.
They braved sub-zero temperatures and marauding U-boats on the treacherous passage from the UK and Iceland to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel, to keep the Soviet Union supplied in its life-or-death struggle with the Nazis.
Now the Ministry of Defence has revealed details of what the medal will look like and say it will go into production this week.
The honour will also be awarded posthumously, meaning families of veterans who have since died can apply on their behalf.
David Tonge, aged 87, of Washacre Close, Westhoughton, was only a teenager when he served on the convoys aboard HMS Venus.
He was left devastated last year when the government blocked moves by the Russian government to award him the Ushakov Medal for his actions.
He said: “Am I glad about it? Yes and no.
“Yes because we’ve got it, and I’ve been fighting for it for years, but it’s the Russian one — they’ve no right to stop us getting that and I’ll carry on fighting for it.”
Sally Faulkner’s father, Derek Bennett, died in 2010, at the age of 86, but had seen action aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Chaser.
Ms Faulkner, of Seaford Road, Harwood, said: “I’d definitely apply for it because they deserve the recognition, although it should have been done years ago.”
Richard Quinlan, of St Helens Road, Over Hulton, was friends with former submariner Redmond Mellett for 40 years before Mr Mellett’s death in 2007, and had written letters asking for a medal on his behalf.
He said: “I think it’s deserved considering all the trials and tribulations they went through.”
Bolton North East MP David Crausby, who has campaigned for an Arctic medal, said it was excellent news.
He said: “I encourage anyone who’s eligible to apply for it, and if they need any help to contact my office.”
Veterans and their families can apply for the medal at veterans-uk.info or by calling 08457 800900.
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