Currently, the veterans are not allowed to receive the medal due to a stipulation that requires such rewards to reflect the recipients’ actions in the last five years only.
Between 1941 and 1945 British warships escorted 78 convoys carrying thousands of aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, trucks and tanks, fuel, food, tools and other vital supplies through the Barents Sea to the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel in a voyage Winston Churchill described as “the worst journey in the World”.
Earlier this year Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree awarding the medal to foreign veterans for outstanding contributions to the Allied War effort.
CFoR Honorary Vice President Andrew Rosindell MP, who also chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Arctic, has pledged to ask the Foreign Office to review the case.
Richard Royal, Chairman of CFoR commented:
“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, and they deserve to be rewarded for their bravery irrespective of the time that has elapsed.”
“It states, inter alia, that the information supplied ‘does not describe any relevant service specific to Russia within the last five years’. Therefore it will not be possible for the Foreign Office to seek permission for those UK citizens named by the Embassy to accept and wear the Ushakov Medal.”
The FCO also said in its response that, were the Embassy to provide details of those veterans who satisfy the “five year criterion” then the decision could be revisited.
For its part, the Russian Embassy noted that it was ‘difficult to imagine persons in their late eighties and early nineties to do things similar to what they did at the time of the War 70 years ago’.