The Legion urges the Governor General to recognize the Arctic Star medal in the Canadian Honours System.
Hundreds of Canadian Veterans and their families can now apply for the Arctic Star medal through the British Government for their service in the Arctic in WWII… but they may not legally wear it – the Canadian Honours System has yet to recognize this important medal. This is shameful and the Legion is urging the Governor General to make it a matter of priority to recognize the medal for those aging Veterans who deserve to be recognized for their bravery.
In late 2012, nearly 70 years after the end of World War II, the British government introduced the Arctic Star medal. The medal is awarded for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle between 3 Sept 1939 and 8 May 1945. Braving treacherous seas and temperatures as low as -60C, Veterans ran the gauntlet of German planes and U-boats to supply the Soviet ports of Murmansk and Archangel between 1939 and 1945.
Canadian Veterans who participated in this campaign with the British Forces may apply to the British government through the Ministry of Defence Medals Office. However, they cannot legally wear their medals in Canada, as the Arctic Star has not yet been recognized by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Honours System.
More than 3,000 men died, and 85 merchant ships and 16 Royal Navy vessels were lost.
Only about 200 of the Veterans are alive today. These Veterans are of increasing age and it would be a great distinction for them to receive this medal before they pass away.
In late December 2013, the Legion sent an official letter to the Governor General’s office asking that this matter be addressed quickly, and allow our brave Veterans to proudly wear their Arctic Star medal with the honour and recognition they deserve. So far we have had no reply. But be assured, the Legion and our 320,000 members will not let this matter rest. Lest We Forget.
To apply for the Arctic Star, visit: www.veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm6