|UPDATE: Campaign won on 20th March 2013!|
After 16 years campaigning, the Arctic Star medal was presented on 19th March 2013 at No.10 Downing Street by the Prime Minister to Roy Dykes and some of his fellow veterans of the Arctic convoy missions – see article HERE.
The text below is kept for historic reference. Also see the list of news articles chronicling just some of the campaign to reach this milestone at the bottom of this page.
Further details of the medal and the application form is available on the Veterans UK website HERE or by ringing 08457 800 900.
‘Mr. Cameron: you promised the medal – now where is it?’
With that phrase, Lt Cmdr Roy Dykes, a Whitchurch resident and former mayor, called upon the Government to fulfill a pledge made by the Prime Minister.
Roy is a leader in the campaign by World War II veterans to force the Government to fulfill a pre-election promise. The Portsmouth News confirmed that Prime Minister David Cameron “pledged his support for the Arctic Medal Campaign in a phone call with former News reporter David Maddox at 11.30am on July 19, 2004.”
You can ‘sign’ the petition calling on the Government to issue a medal: Arctic Star Convoy Medal ‘ePetition’.
FORMER MAYOR LEADING CAMPAIGN
Roy Dykes, 92, of Lynch Hill Park was mayor of Whitchurch in the 2004 and recently celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with wife Iris. During World War II he was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy on board HMS Honeysuckle between 1941 and 1945. He undertook vital missions across the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea to the Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) – delivering vital supplies to the port of Murmansk (see map HERE).
Veterans of the campaign, which Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’, have renewed their effort for a distinct medal for their service in the Arctic.
ENTITLED TO AN ACTUAL MEDAL
In the 2006, a lapel badge and emblem was created to commemorate the Arctic voyages. To date, the uptake of the lapel badge has been low because veterans feel it belittles their sacrifice, according to the Portsmouth News.
The veterans also claim that the vast majority of them qualified for the Atlantic Star medal, which includes a recognition of the Arctic missions, well before their service in the Arctic.
There are many veterans of the Arctic convoy missions who do not qualify for the Atlantic Star, however.
WE WANT RECOGNITION
Roy Dykes said in a recent interview (see video below), “We want recognition by this government for those who lost their lives, for those that were injured one way or another – and are still living or have died…We feel we are entitled to an actual medal – not a little emblem which they say you can pin to your lapel of your jacket. We’ve said that that means nothing, pinning it to a lapel of a jacket.”
He continued, “Once our campaign started, we were informed that the Arctic Convoys were included in the Atlantic Star [medal]. Now, the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea are about 800 miles north of the Atlantic. But if you go to the other end of the Atlantic, the eastern end, the Mediterrain is a matter of about 5 miles, and the sea passes from one to the other on a regular basis. The campaigns of the Mediterranean are not included in the Atlantic Star.”
Roy concluded, “So why did they [the government] stretch their imaginations to include the two northern seas?”
Selected reports about the campaign and related matters in the news…
- 28 June 2013: Campaigner for Arctic Star medal passes away (Eddie Grenfell)
- 20 March 2013: Arctic Star medal presented by Prime Minister to former mayor Roy Dykes
- 18 March 2013: Arctic Medal to be presented at No.10 on Tuesday
- 26 February 2013: At long last – Arctic Star to be awarded in “next few weeks”
- 23 December 2012: Arctic Convoy veteran wants earlier medal presentation
- 19 December 2012: Local campaigner wins national success
- 26 March 2012: Local recognition for Arctic heroes
- 5 December 2011: Former Mayor to attend debate on Arctic Medal
- 27 November 2011: A Hero in our midst
- Yesterday TV: Arctic Convoys (airing in Feb 2012)
- Arctic Convoy heroes presented medals at Downing Street
- MP pushes for medals for Arctic Convoy vets
- David Cameron back-tracks on promise
- Veteran’s Arctic Convoys campaign suffers setback from Cameron
- Commander, 93, receives Arctic Star
- Arctic veterans urge PM to get on with medal review
- Widespread calls for veteran minister to go
- Prime Minister David Cameron has ‘betrayed’ us claim war veterans
- Just the latest letdown in a 14-year campaign by veterans
Brief interviews of Roy Dykes at various recent milestones in the campaign…
- Interview of Roy Dykes following the presentation of the Arctic Star medal to him by the Prime Minister
- Interview of Roy Dykes about Arctic Convoys Medal campaign win
- Interview of Roy Dykes about announcement of Arctic Medal independent review (2012-05-12)
A series of interviews of Roy Dykes was conducted by a Year 3 student from Whitchurch CofE Primary School: