Sir George welcomes proper recognition for WWII heroes
Sir George has welcomed the Government’s announcement that World War II war heroes who served on the Arctic Convoys and in Bomber Command will be eligible to receive new recognition.
Families of those who have sadly died will also be able to apply for the new awards in recognition of their loved ones’ bravery. Up to a quarter of a million veterans and families could be eligible for the awards.
"Roy Dykes deserves hugh praise for the way he has championed the cause of those who served in these convoys. Despite many setbacks, he never gave up and I know he was heartened by the support he got from Whitchurch, the town in which he lives."
Production of the new Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command clasp will start this week and living veterans and widows will be the first in line to receive the new awards from as early as March.
Winston Churchill famously singled the Arctic Convoys out as the “most dangerous run of the war” and the men of Bomber Command faced extremely high casualty rates: 55,000 out of 125,000 who served died.
“This is a welcome announcement which will recognise the bravery displayed by those who fought for our freedom in World War Two. I would encourage all eligible veterans and next of kin in North west Hants to apply for the new awards.”
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois said:
“All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us. That’s why I am delighted that these special individuals will in the next few weeks begin to receive the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star that they have so long deserved.
“I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved one’s bravery.”
Eligible veterans and next of kin are now encouraged to apply for the new awards. Details and an application form can be found at www.veterans-uk.info or by telephoning 08457 800 900 (local rate).
• On 26 February 2013 Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Mark Francois announced that the production of the new Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command clasp would begin and veterans and their widows could receive them as early as March 2013 (Ministry of Defence Press Release, 26 February 2013, link).
• It was also announced that the families of those who had served on the Bomber Command or on the Arctic Convoys but were no longer alive, would be able to apply for the awards in recognition of their loved ones’ bravery (ibid.).
• Arctic Star. The qualifying period for the Arctic Star is “service of any length” recognising the particular severity of the conditions experienced by those who served in the Arctic. Whilst the primary intent is to recognise those who served on the Arctic Convoys, eligibility is extended to include all who served north of the Arctic Circle in World War Two. Those eligible will include members of all three Services as well of course as the Merchant Navy who crewed the ships taking the vital supplies to Russia (Veterans.uk, Arctic Star Application Bomber Command Application Eligibility Criteria, link).
• Bomber Command. The criteria for the Bomber Command Clasp requires prior qualification for the 1939 to 1945 Star, to which it will be affixed, with the additional requirement to have flown at least one operational sortie with a Bomber Command operational unit (ibid.).