We would like to place Cookies on your computer to give you the best possible experience when you visit our website. If you are happy with the current Cookie settings and want to continue to use this website as normal, click 'OK'. You also have the option to change these settings, plus learn more about Cookies and how we use them. More information on Cookies.

OK
Change settings

Sign into my account

Forgot your username Forgot your password

Protecting our Nation's Interests

Skip to main content

Arctic convoy heroes can begin applying for their WW2 campaign medal now

Veterans of the bitter Arctic convoys delivering aid to Russia in World War 2 can today begin applying for a medal to recognise their service.

26/02/2013

Veterans of the bitter Arctic convoys delivering aid to Russia in World War 2 can today begin applying for a medal to recognise their service. The Queen has approved the design for the Arctic Star – a full campaign medal, which is being cast this week.

All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us.
Veterans’ minister Mark Francois

This is the Arctic Star – and from today veterans of the bitter convoys to Russia 70 years ago can finally apply for them.

The Queen has approved the design for the medal, which is being cast this very week so it can be presented as soon as possible to the men who delivered vital supplies to the Soviet Union in World War 2.

It’s thought between 200 and 400 sailors – all now in their late 80s at their youngest – survive from the four-year-long campaign, a mission Churchill acknowledged was “the worst journey in the world”.

Arctic veterans have always stressed that their campaign was entirely different from that in the Atlantic (keeping Britain’s sea lanes open): different aims, different conditions – and should have been recognised with a specific medal, not the Atlantic Star which was awarded when hostilities ended.

Veterans of the bitter Arctic convoys delivering aid to Russia in World War 2 can today begin applying for a medal to recognise their service.

The decision to award the belated medal was made at the end of last year by premier David Cameron after a long-running campaign by survivors, and a review of medals carried out by Whitehall.

As part of that review, Mr Cameron also announced a Bomber Command clasp for veterans of the aerial campaign against the Third Reich.

As many as a quarter of a million medals and clasps could be produced, with priority given to veterans and widows who could receive their awards in a few weeks. Other next of kin may also apply now but will have to wait slightly longer to receive their award.

Veterans’ minister Mark Francois said:

“All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us.

"That’s why I am delighted that these special individuals will in the next few weeks begin to receive the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star that they have so long deserved,

“I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved one’s bravery."

Veterans of the bitter Arctic convoys delivering aid to Russia in World War 2 can today begin applying for a medal to recognise their service.

The four-year struggle to provide material to support the Soviet war effort cost the lives of around 3,000 sailors and merchant seamen – over 100 civilian and military ships were lost, with the nadir coming in the summer of 1942 when convoy PQ17 was mauled by the Luftwaffe and nine U-boats.

You can download an application form from www.veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm or write to The Arctic Star, MOD Medal Office, Imjin Barracks, Innsworth, Gloucester, GL3 1HW.

The criteria for the new medal are set out below:

The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from September 3 1939 to May 8 1945, inclusive.

The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. Eligibility is defined as follows:

  • Navy and Merchant Navy – Naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia.
  • Fleet Air Arm Personnel, not qualified by sea service may qualify under the conditions applying to the Royal Air Force.
  • Air Force – Aircrew of the Royal Air Force will be eligible if they landed north of the Arctic Circle or served in the air over this area. Non aircrew on operational service in the area, for example ground crew or those sailing with CAM ships (Catapult Aircraft Merchant Ships), are also eligible.
  • Army – Army personnel serving in His Majesty’s ships or in defensively equipped Merchant ships qualify under the rules applying to the Navy or Merchant Navy. In addition, personnel taking part in land operations north of the Arctic Circle will also be eligible.
  • Civilians serving with the Forces – Members of the few approved categories of civilians who qualify for Campaign Stars will be eligible if, in support of military operations, they meet any of the above qualifying criteria.
  • Foreign nationals commissioned or enlisted into British or, the then, Dominion Forces (e.g. Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy) are eligible provided the individuals did not receive a similar award from their own Government.
  • General – Eligibility to the Arctic Star has no effect upon eligibility for World War Two recognition previously awarded and does not suggest automatic eligibility for any further awards.

Upcoming Events

Navy News Digital Edition

Related Stories

Features

Find the perfect role

Our job finder tool will help you find the perfect role to match your skills

I'm Interested in:
  • Explore Opportunities Chef (Submariner)
    More info
  • Explore Opportunities Air Engineering Technician
    More info
  • Explore Opportunities Logistics Officer
    More info