The Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Angus Campbell, has made a plea for the UK Government to formally recognise the veterans of the World War 2 Arctic convoys with a campaign medal.
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced an inquiry to look into the issue. Cllr Campbell has written to Scottish Veterans Minister Keith Brown who yesterday met with some of the surviving veterans of the convoys and representatives of the Russian Consulate. The Scottish Government Minister is campaigning for a dedicated medal to be awarded to veterans of the convoys.
In his letter Mr Campbell said:
“As you will be aware, the Western Isles has a strong seafaring tradition particularly with regard to the Merchant Navy. Many of those who served on the Arctic Convoys were from the Western Isles and they deserve their medals every bit as much as Battle of Britain, Battle of Atlantic or Burma Star recipients deserved theirs. I would also ask that, should this deserved recognition be made, that posthumous awards should be made in order that the families of those that have died are given recognition of the work their loved ones carried out for their country.
Formal recognition of the tremendous courage, fortitude and determination of these brave men, who fought to ensure much needed supplies reached the Soviet Union at a critical time in our country’s history, is long overdue. It is ironic that Russia has honoured these men and recognized the efforts that were made on their behalf. It is time the British Government did the same.”
More than 3,000 seamen died in Operation Dervish delivering supplies to the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel during the 2nd World War whilst at the mercy of freezing temperatures and the constant risk of attack from the enemy.