Arctic Convoy recognition at long last

tis  Veteran Leslie Hall.  (121122M3)
tis Veteran Leslie Hall. (121122M3)

War hero Leslie Hall is set to receive an Arctic Convey Star medal, 67 years after the end of the Second World War.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the medal would finally be minted, although only around 200 veterans of the convoys are still alive.

Mr Hall from Harrogate said: “I am pleased, but we have been fighting for it for quite a while.”

Thousands of veterans have missed out on receiving a medal because of the delay.

The 88-year-old veteran was just 17 when he enlisted in 1939 and served on the HMS Suffolk throughout the war.

Mr Hall said: “I only know about five people left from my ship, because I was one of the youngest on board when I joined.

”I will be the only one from the Harrogate Branch of the Royal Naval Association.

The route the Arctic Convoys took was reportedly described by Winston Churchill as the worst journey in the world and more than 3,000 servicemen died escorting the merchant ships delivering vital supplies to Russia

Mr Hall recalls the freezing temperatures and cramped conditions he experienced on HMS Suffolk, he said: “There wasn’t a lot to see, it took two weeks to get there and two weeks to get back.

“It was cold and dangerous, in war you are just waiting for something to happen.”

Mr Hall has already been awarded five medals; the 1939 to 1945 Star, the Atlantic Star, The Burma Star, The Victory Medal and several years after the end of the war he was gifted the Russian Medal.

The announcement comes just weeks after Mr Hall made a trip to London to march on remembrance Sunday.

It was the first time Mr Hall made the visit and it was the last time the veterans group will parade at the service.

At the time Mr Hall said: “It was difficult going all the way to London, and I had to ‘march’ in my wheelchair. But it really was a good experience.”

Veterans will not be able to receive their medals immediately. The Ministry of Defence has to draw up eligibility criteria before it will award the decorations.

Mr Hall said: “I look forward to getting the medal in the new year.”