HC Deb 02 November 2000 vol 355 c546W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to recommend the award of the Atlantic Star to Russian convoy veterans for their service in the Arctic Ocean during World War II; and if he will make a statement. [135881]

Mr. Hill

I have been asked to reply.

The Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS), part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency issues all campaign stars in respect of Merchant Seamen. The qualifications for the Atlantic Star require that the 1939–45 Star must first have been earned by six months' service at sea and then must be followed by a further six months' service at sea before 8 May 1945, with at least one voyage in the qualifying area ie across the Atlantic, South Atlantic or service in convoys to North Russia. This award is available to all British seafarers who fulfil the criteria.

Merchant Shipping Notice M.279, which sets out the criteria for campaign stars for Merchant Seamen, was published in 1946 and is still in use to assess awards. It remains official policy to award the Atlantic Star to Russian convoy veterans who are British seafarers provided they make a request and fulfil the necessary criteria.

Evidence of service is taken either from the discharge book of the veteran, or, if this is not available, from the discharge summaries and ships log books which are held at RSS Cardiff.