ELDERLY heroes who put their lives on the line in the Arctic Convoys seven decades ago will be honoured by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire on Thursday.
It took more than 60 years for the Government to issue the Arctic Medal to the men who braved freezing conditions and the constant threat of attack while they transported vital supplies by sea to Russia during the Second World War.
More than 3,000 men never returned from what was described as “the worst journey in the world” by wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
But when the medals finally arrived earlier this year it was by post - with no ceremony - to the disgust of those who have fought so hard for the recognition.
On Thursday the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Ian Dudson, will give surviving Staffordshire Arctic Convoys veterans a fitting presentation at Stafford’s County Buildings.
There will be 18 veterans and other guests at the ceremony, but the Lord Lieutenant’s office intends to organise future presentations for other veterans who receive the Arctic Medal at a later date.
In July three Stafford Borough Arctic Convoys veterans were honoured by the Mayor of Stafford.
Don Gray, 89, of Eccleshall, Ernie Yates, also 89, of Stafford and Frank Wallis, 91, of Stone, were invited to the Mayor’s Parlour and treated to afternoon tea.
Stafford Mayor Angela Loughran, who is attending Thursday's ceremony, said of July's event: “It was a very humbling experience for me to meet men who must have experienced a living nightmare, time and time again, in order to protect the freedoms that we, and others around the world, can enjoy today.
“We must never forget what those like Don, Ernie and Frank went through for us.”