HE HAS waited nearly 70 years, but finally, a war veteran is in sight of receiving official recognition for the bravery he showed during a deadly Second World War campaign.
Roy Dykes has been campaigning for 16 years for veterans, like himself, to be honoured with an official medal for serving on the Arctic Convoy missions between 1941 and 1945, when they delivered vital supplies to the Soviet Union.
The 93-year-old, of Lynch Hill Park, Whitchurch, has now seen the design for the new Arctic Star medal, which will be given to veterans next month. On Tuesday morning, minister of state for defence personnel, welfare and veterans Mark Francois said production of the Arctic Star medal and Bomber Command Clasp will begin this week, with living veterans and widows the first in line to receive the award from early March.
The Arctic Star will be based on the Second World War Stars, and the Bomber Command Clasp will be given to those who previously qualified for the 1939 to 1945 Star, to which the clasp will be affixed. Mr 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.”
The Gazette was among the many media organisations that backed the campaign for the Arctic Convoy veterans to be honoured with a special medal.
Mr Dykes, who was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, said: “There’s nothing more we can do now but wait to be informed when we will receive it.”
He hopes the medal will be formally presented, and added: “It means that at last this Government recognises that campaign for how important it was. At last, we are getting some recognition for it.”
More than 3,000 British sailors died on the convoys. A decision was made by Prime Minister David Cameron in December to award a medal following an independent review into the rules governing the award of military medals.