Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Outstanding Contribution

Richard Royal writes:

The Conservative Friends of Russia has stepped up its campaign in the UK Parliament to ensure British Arctic Convoy Veterans are awarded with the Ushakov Medal.

CFoR’s Honorary Vice President Andrew Rosindell MP, who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arctic Issues, has tabled a Parliamentary Question asking the Foreign Secretary William Hague to reconsider the recent decision to deny British veterans this honour.

Under current rules, the Foreign Office can only permit the awarding of foreign medals to UK servicemen if it reflects activity within the previous five years. The Ushakov Medal was created in 1944 to commemorate the daunting Arctic Convoy missions which kept allied trade routes open throughout World War Two, but was only made available to the UK in 2011. Other Commonwealth countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as USA have granted permission to their veterans to receive the medal, whilst UK has denied it to theirs.

Mr Rosindell’s official question which must be formally answered by the Foreign Office asks the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “If he will consider waiving the usual ‘five year criterion’ in order for our brave World War Two Veterans to receive the Ushakov Medal commemorating their outstanding contribution to the War effort through the part played in vital Arctic Convoy missions.”

The move is part of a wider campaign by CFoR, a rapidly growing and influential group aiming to improve relations and develop links between UK and Russia. Its Chairman Richard Royal commented: “There is no legitimate reason to deny our brave veterans this medal, to do so on a technicality diminishes the vital role they played in the fight for freedom in Europe. We have substantial and influential support for our campaign and I would urge our Foreign Secretary to rethink the decision and to ensure these former servicemen get the recognition and thanks that they deserve.”

Ed Miliband and Jim Murphy, already campaigning for historic regiments, and for aircraft carriers with aircraft of them, get behind this campaign, too.


  1. There can't be many of them left to receive it. My maternal uncle served on the Arctic convoys and would probably have liked to add a Russian medal to his Burma Star, but he died in 2002. He'd have been 91 now ...

  2. I have signed the petition.

  3. 2013 The year of the Convoy:

    2013 is deemed the year of the Convoy: Lets end this and make every award available to those heroes as time permits: Future years will see fewer medals required for these brave men.

    The only obstacle is what is called the five year rule: This in the past has been overruled much: It must be over ruled again for the year of the Convoy 2013 and for them.

    Both the Royal and Merchant navies will honour and tribute our Acrtic heroes during 2013, the year of the convoy: Possibly our Government may do similar ?

    RE: The five year rule: "This is somewhat contradictory to the award of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal for those who served in operations in Malaya/Malaysia between August 1957 and August 1966. This medal was first struck in 2005 and in 2011 unrestricted permission was given by Her Majesty The Queen for the acceptance and wearing of this medal, even though those who served in this theatre had already received the British General Service Medal, with additional Malaya/Borneo Clasp. I would also like to point out the fact of the award of the Naval GSM and GSM with Suez Canal Zone Clasp which was awarded in 2003 to those who had served between 16th October 1951 and 19th October 1954. This award was also originally subject to the five year rule and should not be considered, which was later changed and the Honours and Decorations Committee endorsed the recommendation"