Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage will call on the Government to honour the veterans of the Arctic Convoys in Parliament this week.
In a debate to be held this Tuesday in Westminster Hall, Caroline will urge Ministers to recognise the role of the Arctic Convoy veterans in World War II. The debate, initiated by Ms Dinenage, is in support of a long running campaign to gain a medal for the veterans of the Arctic Convoys.
Around 66,500 men braved the dangerous and freezing conditions of the Arctic Circle to keep the supply lines open to Russia in the Second World War. Yet despite enduring what Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’, the veterans of the Arctic Convoys have not been honoured by this country. It remains the only major sea campaign of the war not to be awarded a specific medal, with the Atlantic Star, which the veterans receive, referring to a campaign over 800 miles away.
Speaking prior to the debate, Caroline said:
“Heroic and brave may be words we hear all too often these days – but yet they are words that are absolutely personified by the Arctic Convoy veterans. It is an insult to these men, and brings shame on our country, that no specific medal exists for their courageous actions in the Second World War”.
With news that the Prime Minister will initiate an independent medal review, following the inconclusive result of the MOD’s 16 month-long review, Caroline will highlight the need for swift action. She said:
“With only 200 of the tens of thousands of veterans still alive to receive this honour, time is of the essence. I will urge the Minister in tomorrow’s debate to provide a concrete timetable for rapid action, so that we can recognise the heroic service of the veterans before it is too late”.
The debate, which will run from 12.30pm on Tuesday 6th December, will receive a response from Defence Minister and Minister for Veterans, Andrew Robathan. It will be attended by a number of the surviving veterans, including their campaign leader Commander Eddie Grenfell.