News story

New recognition for WWII veterans within weeks

Veterans of the Arctic Convoys and Bomber Command will begin receiving new awards in recognition of their heroic service within weeks.

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

An underwater detonation erupts next to HMS Ashanti during a convoy to Russia in September 1942. The destroyer HMS Eskimo is seen in the foreground. Merchant ships are in the background [Picture: British Newsreel Pictures © IWM (A 12022)]
An underwater detonation erupts during a convoy to Russia in September 1942

Production of the new Arctic Star and Bomber Command clasp will begin this week.

Illustrations of the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command clasp
Illustrations of the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command clasp [Picture: Crown copyright]

Up to a quarter-of-a-million veterans and the families of those who have sadly died could be eligible to receive the new awards in recognition of their unique contribution protecting Britain during the Second World War. Living veterans and widows will be the first in line to receive the new awards from as early as March.

Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois said:

All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us. That’s why I am delighted that these special individuals will in the next few weeks begin to receive the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star that they have so long deserved.

I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved ones’ bravery.

Avro Lancaster B Mk.Is of 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron
Three Avro Lancaster B Mk.Is of 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron flying in formation above the clouds, 29 September 1942 [Picture: Royal Air Force © IWM (TR 197)]

The Prime Minister announced the new awards last December and after extensive consultation the final designs have now been agreed. The Arctic Star will be based on the Second World War Stars, and the Bomber Command clasp, to be worn on the ribbon of the 1939 to 1945 Star, will follow the design of the Battle of Britain clasp.

Those eligible for the new Bomber Command clasp will have previously qualified for the 1939 to 1945 Star, to which the clasp will be affixed. There is an additional requirement to have flown at least 1 operational sortie as aircrew on a Bomber Command operational unit.

View from the cruiser HMS Sheffield during an Arctic Convoy escort patrol
View from the cruiser HMS Sheffield during an Arctic Convoy escort patrol, December 1941 [Picture: Lieutenant R G G Coote, Royal Navy © IWM (A 6892)]

Those eligible for the new Arctic Star are all those who served for any length of time north of the Arctic Circle during the Second World War.

Eligible veterans and next of kin are now encouraged to apply for the new awards. Details and an application form can be found at www.veterans-uk.info or by telephoning 08457 800 900 (local rate).

Published 26 February 2013