New delay in battle for Arctic Convoy medals

Roy Dykes

Roy Dykes

First published in Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

IT HAS been a long, hard fight – but now the heroes of the Second World War Arctic Convoy missions will have even longer to wait before discovering if they will be awarded a medal.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced a review of the rules on awarding military medals following pressure from the Arctic Convoy veterans, who have campaigned for 15 years to be awarded a medal.

But he has now asked for “further recommendations” in a “second stage of work.”

Whitchurch resident Roy Dykes, who served on board HMS Honeysuckle between 1941 and 1945, told The Gazette : “At the rate we are going, I think we will all be dead by the time they make a decision.”

The 92-year-old, from Lynch Hill Park, joined leader of the campaign, Eddie Grenfell, in Portsmouth, where they met Sir John Holmes, who was appointed to carry out the inquiry.

His findings were submitted to Mr Cameron in July, and concluded that the veterans’ case was impressive.

He said there is room for “greater transparency and flexibility in how some of the current rules are framed.”

The former diplomat said a fresh review of the Arctic Convoy veterans’ claim for proper recognition should be a “top priority.”

He recommended that an independent expert should “look again rapidly at the main long-standing controversies, to try to draw a line under them.”

Sir John said this should begin with the Arctic Convoy issue.

Mr Cameron said of the report: “It proposes ways forward to address some past grievances while maintaining the distinctive British tradition that military medals are hard earned.

“I hope this will help to draw a line under past campaigns and provide a more open decision-making process in future. I welcome the report and have asked Sir John to lead a second stage of work to make further recommendations using the principles he has proposed to implement his findings.”

This second stage is expected to be complete in the autumn. Mr Dykes said although the meeting with Sir John went well, it was “frustrating” that no action has yet been taken.

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