Whitchurch honours Arctic Heroes
24 Mar 2012
Susanna Jackman presents Roy Dykes with his medal. Eddie Grenfell looks on.
Susanna Jackman presents Roy Dykes with his medal. Eddie Grenfell looks on.
Click for a full size picture
 Commander Eddie Grenfell and  Lt Commander Roy Dykes
Commander Eddie Grenfell and Lt Commander Roy Dykes
Click for a full size picture
Whitchurch honoured local resident Lt Commander Cdr Roy Dykes, together with fellow veteran Commander Grenfell.

Both were presented with an Arctic Hero medal by the granddaughter of the Mayor of Whitchurch, Susanna Jackman.

Speaking at the event, Sir George thanked Graham Burgess for organising the event, commissioning the medals and recognising the heroism of these two survivors of the Arctic Convoys.

"In 1941, our Russian allies were fighting a losing battle against Nazi Germany, and it was vital that they should receive reinforcements from Great Britain. Arctic Convoys were sent to Ark Angel, carrying tanks, aircrafts, trucks and 15 million boots. 40 convoys sailed, containing 800 ships. 104 were sunk by the Luftwaffe and the German Navy. Thousands of seamen perished".

Sir George said one of his proudest moments had been to go to HMS Belfast in 2006 with Roy Dykes, when he was presented with a special emblem by the then veterans minister, Derek Twigg.

"Although they are no longer young men, Eddie and Roy are two of the most vigorous campaigners in my constituency. The Prime Minister has recently commisssioned a new review, to see how we can best recognise those who took part in the Arctic Convoys.
This is part of a general review of the award of military medals, and will be conducted by an independent reviewer with full consultation with interested parties. The Prime Minister has told Roy Dykes that he is aware of the strength of feeling in relation to further recognition for those who served as part of the Arctic Convoys".

Eddie Grenfell suffered a cardiac arrest after the event, and was taken to Basingstoke Hospital. After visiting him, Roy Dykes told Sir George that Eddie was recovering well.

"We all wish Eddie a full and speedy recovery, and an early discharge so he can go home."
 
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