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MP signs up to campaign for Second World War veterans


Friday 16th November 2012 (Andrew Griffiths)

BURTON’S MP has backed a campaign to allow British Second World War veterans to be awarded the Ushakov Medal.

The honour, granted by the Russian government,is handed to servicemen who assisted in the 78 Arctic convoy missions to transport supplies to the Soviet Union.

Tory Andrew Griffiths is among 30MPs to have signed a letter to the Foreign Office and the Honours and Decorations Committee calling for a rule change to allow British veterans to receive the medal.

Mr Griffiths has a personal interest in the issue as his late father, Bob, served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and was part of the Russian convoys. The MP said: “These veterans played an absolutely vital role in the war, ensuring that supply routes to one of our main allies remained open despite the incredibly
difficult conditions. “They deserve to be rewarded for their bravery irrespective of the time that has
elapsed.”

Currently rules say war heroes cannot receive medals for actions carried out more than five years ago, unless special permission is granted from the Foreign Office or the Honours and Decorations Committee.

The MPs’ letter calls for these rules to be waived in this case. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree earlier this year granting the medal to all foreign servicemen who played a part in the Arctic
convoy missions. Between 1941 and 1945, British warships escorted 78 convoys carrying thousands of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns,trucks, tanks, fuel, food, tools and other vital supplies through the Barents Sea to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk. Winston Churchill described the voyage as ‘the worst journey in the world’.

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