Today, February 26, 2013, the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois MP confirmed the design and production of the Arctic Star. Veterans such as Roy Dykes of Whitchurch will be receiving it in the “next few weeks”.

Anyone who served north of the Arctic Circle in WWII for any amount of time is eligible. This includes people who served on the Arctic Convoys in any of the three Services, as well as the Merchant Navy crews who took vital supplies to Russia.

POSSIBLE PRESENTATION CEREMONY

Roy Dykes said, “It is very good indeed, it couldn’t be better. After 16 years it has eventually come. I can put away all the correspondence until I can find someone to file it for me! It is very good, all due to General Sir David Richards and Rear Admiral Williams.”

It is hoped, Roy said, that the medals will be presented by Easter.

Roy Dykes suggested to the MoD that presentation ceremonies be held in various main cities and towns throughout the UK – as most veterans are now into their 90s – and that the HMS Belfast be considered as a location for those who can get to London.

800px-HMS_Belfast_(C35),_London,_England-16Dec2005

HMS Belfast (photo by Raymond McCrae taken in 2005, licensed under Creative Commons)

There is a historic reason why Roy suggested HMS Belfast as a possible location for a presentation ceremony: the ship was an escort to the Arctic convoys; it travelled about 15 miles away to protect the convoys from surface attacks. The Russian Government has funded the refurbishment of its masts. The Arctic Emblem was presented in 2006 to veterans on the quarterdeck of the ship.

Sir George Young, MP said, he is “delighted that good progress has been made with the Arctic Star, and that veterans will be receiving them in the next few weeks.”

APPROVED BY THE QUEEN

Her Majesty The Queen approved the design for the new award on the basis of recommendations made by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. The design for the Arctic Star is based on the other World War Two Stars.

Today’s announcement follows Sir John Holmes’ independent medal review and the announcement by the Prime Minister, on 19 December 2012, that the award should be made in recognition of the great bravery of those who contributed to this very significant campaign of World War Two.

DETAILS AND APPLICATION FORM

Further details and the application form is available on the Veterans UK website HERE or on the Ministry of Defense website HERE. Alternatively, you can ring 08457 800 900.

Applications from veterans and widows will be the priority, it is understood; Other next of kin are also able to apply and they will receive their awards shortly afterwards.

The campaign page is on the town website HERE.


This article was updated with quotes from Roy Dykes and Sir George Young; and material added about HMS Belfast.

Comments (3)

  • Graham Burgess

    Very good news.Perhaps the award of The Whitchurch Medal had some effect. Sir George Young has carried out a very efficient and caring role from the early days.
    It included efforts to ensure that the firm that made The Whitchurch Medal, Classic Miniatures in Twickenham, had an opportunity to tender for the 60,000 Arctic Medals.

    In reply to Sir George’s various letters The Rt Hon Mark Francois MP advised us on 22nd January that relevant details had been sent to key contacts at the MOD.

    Graham Burgess.

  • Graham Burgess

    Since my last we have heard from Classic Miniatures that they have not been approached.

    I have appraised Sir George of this purely to try to ensure that the quality is good and the cost to all of us is fair.
    __________

    Ed Note: Could you clarify for readers, who are “we”?

  • Graham Burgess

    Anyone who cares.

    One of the things considered in the apportionment of medals quite properly is the cost.When I was first appraised of the campaign led by Roy Dykes and his comrades the cost for the medal was phenomenal. That was not a factor in what happened next namely Roy coming into The Bell near Christmas 2011and my offering him a drink to which he replied “I cannot stop I have come in for a takeaway for Iris”. A man showing deepest care on levels so I said I was sorry to hear about the government decision to not award a medal. I then asked if he would llike the people of Whitchurch (we) to award him with a medal. He smiled and said yes.

    So it was arranged and as far as possible a-political.The presentation was designed so that yes our Mayor was a focal point representing all in the community in some sort of structured way but it was a grand-child representing the oldies, their sons and daughters and their sons and daughters who presented the medals.

    Eddie Grenfell said it was one of the most moving events he had ever attended and then he collapsed. What happened next was a marvellous example of the high quality heritage we have, namely local care and the arrival of an emergency helicopter to rush Eddie to hospital.All local, not known about by many countrywide or those making decisions in The Ministry of Defence.It and subsequent correspondence via Sir George may have contributed to the recent positive decision or it may not have but the local flavour was appreciated by so many.

    Medals like the awards given in The Parish Hall by our Mayor last week are only of value if the reason for them is readily recognised and celebrated in an ongoing manner.

    I attended that event as did so many others. The recipients saw us.We were there, we clapped. Marvellous.

    Gillian and I were not involved in booking the hall; arranging the catering; printing the award certificates but we felt very cherished that WE were invited so the recipients could benefit from knowing it was the sort of thing WE cared about.

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