There is to be a signal ceremonial honouring of the significance of Loch Ewe in Wester Ross in the history of the World War II Arctic Convoys to northern Russia, keeping that key ally in the war with the supplies so dearly delivered.
The Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project has today announced [21st March] that awards of the Arctic Star medal, recognising at long last the service of the veterans of the World War II Arctic Convoys will be made in a ceremony at Loch Ewe on 9th May.
The 40 veterans of the convoys who are to be so uniquely honoured will be at Loch Ewe to attend the Museum’s Veterans Reunion as part of a week of events commemorating aspects of the second World War and of those fearsome Arctic Convoys.
The day of the reunion will include a Memorial Service led by the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness at the Arctic Convoy Memorial high above the mouth of Loch Ewe; and will be attended by the Veterans from all across the UK and their families, VIPs and the local community.
Museum Project Chairman Francis Russell is delighted with the decision to include a Medal Ceremony. ‘We are honouring all the Convoy Veterans during our WWII Event (May 6th-11th) and this will be a unique addition for us all – for the Veterans to receive their medals officially and for all of us to witness such a well deserved, long awaited and memorable occasion. It is of special significance that this is happening on the shores of Loch Ewe, where many of the Veterans began their journeys to Russia.’
The Museum group will be launching their fundraising appeal during WWII Week for the signature project to build a Museum and new Community Centre on the site of HMS Helicon, the Arctic Convoys Loch Ewe base during 1941-1945.
The Veterans will have chance to see the plans for the new development and to hear how their stories of bravery, loss and suffering from ‘the worst journey in the world’ will be recorded for future generations.
The Veterans Reunion event has been grant funded jointly by the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust, Seafarers UK and Highland Council.
The hosting of the medal award ceremony at Loch Ewe is also a recognition of the quality of the work being done by the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum project and of its ambition to create a permanent tribute at Loch Ewe to those unrepeatable Arctic Convoys, im the form of an enduring and growing museum and archive.
There is more information here about WWII and the Arctic Convoys Week, with the full Programme of Events and the facility to book tickets in advance.
Details of how veterans and next of kin can apply for the Arctic Star medal are also available on this website.
Note: The image at the top is of the new Arctic Star medal and is reproduced by courtesy of the Ministry of Defence.