HC Deb 29 October 1979 vol 972 cc425-6W
Mr. Hicks

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he intends to issue a new campaign medal for those who served with the convoys to the USSR during World War II; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Speed

This issue has been raised with my Department on several occasions in recent months. Although I am conscious of the vital contribution made to the war effort by those who served in the Arctic convoys, I cannot agree that the recognition given to them has been inadequate or that a new award should be introduced.

The Government of the day, recognising that awards for all the campaigns and operations involving British Servicemen in World War II would have involved a very large number of separate medals being struck, decided that they would follow tradition and preserve the value of the country's awards by limiting their number. To this end a small number of basic campaign stars were struck, each covering a wide geographical area. Service in Arctic waters was covered by the Atlantic Star.

Those who devised the system of campaign awards in the immediate post-war years did so in full awareness of the conditions which existed in all the theatres of war. I do not believe there are grounds for reversing this judgment.