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.
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
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.