To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2015 to Question 219983, whether arrangements for the award of the Arctic Star medal indicate that the presumption against double-medalling set out in that Answer is no longer in force.
Mr Philip Dunne
The general principle of 'double medalling' remains extant. The issue of a medal for those who served on Arctic Convoys was looked at by Sir John Holmes in his Review of Military Medals, which was conducted independently of the Ministry of Defence. Sir John's recommendation was that an award (the Arctic Star) would be appropriate and this was agreed by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals and Her Majesty The Queen. Sir John felt that the Arctic Convoy operation was a separate and distinct campaign, geographically and in every other way, from what was happening in the Atlantic, and should have been considered in that light. As it would be impractical and unfair to withdraw the Atlantic Star from those awarded the Arctic Star, it is considered that double medalling has not occurred in this case.
While not diminishing the hardships and hazards of the Atlantic Convoys, the Arctic Convoys were subjected to uniquely appalling weather conditions and such an intensity of enemy air and sea attacks that they merited separate recognition from service in the Atlantic and it was therefore felt that this was an exceptional case.
With regards to double medalling and the Ushakov Medal, Her Majesty's Government have always been appreciative of the Russian Government's wish to honour these brave men. A recommendation was therefore made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to exceptionally allow the Ushakov Medal to be accepted and worn. President Putin presented the first medals during his visit to London on 16 June 2013.