Britain’s Shame !!!
The convoys kept Russia supplied to keep fighting the Nazis on Germany’s eastern front. But while the Ushakov medal has been handed to veterans from Australia, Canada and the United States for their role in the convoys, the British government is refusing to allow it to be given to British veterans.
When our stuffy government sticks by rules that are both antiquated and unfair then they should be ashamed and so should we as a nation.
There is no time limit on valour. There is no time limit on doing ones duty. There should be no time limit on recognising duty and valour.
The Russians clearly recognise this
In a letter seen by The News, Alexander Yakovenko told veterans the Russian Embassy in London has ‘profound regret’ that the British government will not allow them to be decorated.
‘Under the circumstances the embassy only has to express its profound regret that while the authorities of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA have granted permission to the veterans of the Arctic Convoys to be awarded the Ushakov Medal, we are not in a position to honour in the same way the courage and sacrifice of the British heroes of the Arctic Convoys.
The full Russian Embassy Press Release can be found here
This issue has been the subject of a motion put before the British parliament but to no avail and some are addressing the Russian Embassy directly to request that they ignore the British Governments appalling decision and go ahead and award the medal….. See here
The “five-year” criteria is a farce and has been waived by the British Government in recent times.
Next year, 2013, will be the Year Of The Convoy
Although I have posted on this subject before I think “Keith at Tregenna” states the issue very clearly so I’ll close with the following quotes from him.
The Foreign Office state that the rules of acceptance of foreign awards had to have taken place within the previous five years or that permission cannot be granted if they have received a UK award for the same services. This is somewhat contradictory to the award of the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal for those who served in operations in Malaya/Malaysia between August 1957 and August 1966. This medal was first struck in 2005 and in 2011 unrestricted permission was given by Her Majesty The Queen for the acceptance and wearing of this medal, even though those who served in this theatre had already received the British General Service Medal, with additional Malaya/Borneo Clasp.
the award of the Naval GSM and GSM with Suez Canal Zone Clasp which was awarded in 2003 to those who had served between 16th October 1951 and 19th October 1954. This award was also originally subject to the five-year rule and should not be considered, which was later changed and the Honours and Decorations Committee endorsed the recommendation.
It would seem rather ironic considering the Prime Ministers recent speech the other day on national television in regard to the millions of pounds, rightly so, the Government are going to put into the forthcoming 100th Anniversary of the start of WWI, as an act of remembrance to educate those at school and the sacrifice made by so many, but they are not willing to consider an award to those veterans of WWII still living by stating a rule that has been overturned with previous awards.
Another previous post on this subject
Russian ambassador’s regret over medal row – News – Portsmouth News.