Westcountry arctic heroes from second world war denied medals
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.
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"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".