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Arctic Convoy veterans honoured at Armed Forces Day reception

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore paid tribute to members of the Armed Forces past and present at a reception in Edinburgh.

The reception in the Scotland Office celebrated Scotland’s fourth Armed Forces Day was attended by serving personnel, veterans and cadets.

During the reception the Minister officially presented Arctic Star medals to two veterans of the two Arctic Convoy veterans, Arthur Southall from Edinburgh who served on HMS Loch Insh and Thomas Lennie from Newburgh, Fife who served on HMS Red Mill.

The Arctic convoys were made up of vessels which travelled from Britain to northern Russia to resupply the Soviet Union during World War II. The convoys delivered vital aid, running the gauntlet of enemy submarine, air and surface ship attacks. By May 1945, the Arctic route had claimed 104 merchant and 16 military vessels with thousands of Allied seamen lost their lives. The Artic Star medal recognises the invaluable and daring service the Allied seaman performed.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron met and awarded the Arctic Star to veterans of both the Arctic Convoys and of Bomber Command in recognition of their deeds which are widely recognised as helping the Allied war effort and significantly shortening the Second World War.

The Secretary of State said:

“Armed Forces Day is a time for us to reflect on and give thanks for those who serve our country today and who have done so in the past. It helps raise awareness of the important role they play and the sacrifices they make on our behalf and, in return, allows them to see the huge amount of public support which exists for them throughout the country. Our thought are also very much with those on active duty in Afghanistan and their families.

“This year is particularly poignant, given the recognition and decoration being given to those veterans who served on the Arctic convoys in the Second World War and I am proud to have presented medals to Arthur and Thomas this evening.

“Next year will also see the commemoration of the First World War centenary, with Glasgow playing a central role as we remember the generation which fought in that conflict.”

Colonel Martin Gibson, Executive Chairman of Veterans Scotland, attended the event and said:

“I am delighted the Secretary of State for Scotland hosted this event to mark Armed Forces Day at the Scotland Office. Veterans throughout Scotland and the UK value the support of the public and events like this are a great way to show the esteem in which they and their service to their country is held.

“The presentation of the Arctic Star medals to two Scottish veterans is a key recognition of the difficult and dangerous job they did in the Second World War and it was a privilege to see them receive their medals.”

Armed Forces Day events will take place across the UK on Saturday 29 June.

On Thursday, Scotland Office Minister, David Mundell held a reception for veterans and relatives of those who served in the Korean War to mark the sixty years since the signing of the Korean War Armistice.