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Westcountry arctic heroes from second world war denied medals

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

Andrew George

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The Western Morning News today backs calls for the Government to recognise the courage and sacrifice of survivors of a perilous mission to deliver lifesaving supplies to Russian allies in the Second World War.

Veterans of the Arctic Convoy, many of them sailors based in the Westcountry, have been offered the Ushakov Medal by a grateful Russian government – but men like Cornish residents Geoff Helmore and Stanley Bowles have been told they cannot accept because of Government red tape.

St Ives MP Andrew George has called for a rethink.

"It is difficult to know quite how to describe this level of procrastination," he said.

"These levels of excuses should be rationed like supplies were during the war. The excuses must stop and we should do this for these brave men before it is too late."

Mr Helmore, a retired head teacher, condemned the decision as "petty".

"All you need to know about the Arctic Convoys is that it was hell out there," he said.

"The Government is asking for proof of direct support to Russia in the last five years.

"But I am 89. I'm an ardent supporter of the Royal British Legion and I belonged to the North Russia Club for Arctic Convoy veterans, but that closed due to diminishing numbers caused by members' deaths."

At present, Britain stands alone in denying men who took part in the Arctic Convoy the Ushakov Medal.

In a letter to Mr Helmore, Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, said he was "deeply disappointed".

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  • roger_angove  |  November 12 2012, 11:04PM

    @ Baby_boomer Quod scripsi, scripsi.

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  • Baby_boomer  |  November 12 2012, 4:54PM

    Another day. Another irrelevant cheap gibe from Roger Angove.

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  • roger_angove  |  November 12 2012, 2:32PM

    "St Ives MP Andrew George has called..." Another day. Another bandwagon.

    |   -36
  • josdave  |  November 12 2012, 1:50PM

    The father of a friend of mine was on the Arctic convoys and from what I hear they deserve medals as many of their ships were unarmed unlike the navy ships and they had to carry on regardless of what the Lutwaffe threw at them. What is it with this country? We were only too glad to have the help of merchant ships who went through hell to deliver their loads and we cannot honour their bravery. It was the same with the Ghurkas who have only recently been honoured with citizenship of the country they risked their lives for.

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  • mrcrashhappy  |  November 10 2012, 11:03PM

    It's hard to believe that some petty bureaucracy is denying these men the recognition they rightfully deserve. Are the government to incompetent to manage this or has political correctness morphed into Big Brother-style revisionism? Shame on them.

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  • Svenn  |  November 10 2012, 2:52PM

    I've met too many lonely and forgotten vets during hospice visits. Please recognize these souls while you still can. Russ Swanson Naperville, Illinois USA

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  • NonEmmit  |  November 10 2012, 10:42AM

    My 92 year old father was also on the Russia convoys, and most other areas of conflict during WW2 including the Med and Far East, he has never claimed any 'convoy medal'. Alas to say his medals went missing in the 1950's, but I know he was entitled to 7 WW2 Medals not including the Russia convoy Medal having seen his written naval service record. Even though my Dad never wore his Medals, it is disgraceful this government won't recognise these remaining veterans. Is that surprising considering the way recent government have treated even serving members of the armed services, let alone the men and women who saved us from the fascists!

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  • Sunnylanes  |  November 10 2012, 9:51AM

    Well my father, an 87 year-old Arctic Convoy veteran, has proudly accepted his medal and has it in his possession, but has been told he cannot wear it. Could you please let us know when his transport to the Tower will be arriving so we can make arrangements. http://tinyurl.com/au3zcqa

    |   23