MARINERS-L ArchivesArchiver > MARINERS > 2004-02 > 1076113394
From: "tednik" <>
Subject: [Mar] Russian medal
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2004 19:23:21 -0500
Re my last, I should have said that the inscription on this Russian commemorative medal is "40th anniversary of victory in the Great Fatherland War." Or 50th and shortly to be, 60th anniversary. The inscription is in Russian so that you can read into whatever you like.
Nobody can stop veterans (ex-servicemen in the UK) applying to the Russians for the medal or wearing it. The problem is proving that one was in a ship that was in the Arctic convoys. Page two of the then service document lists one's ships and periods thereon but not where the ships served. I assume the Russians have their own lists of ships that made it to their ports or were sunk en route, both naval and merchant. Since Their Lords of the Admiralty (or whatever they call themselves these days) apparently destroyed the records of all ships destroyers and below, it's difficult to run down a lot of wartime histories. (The history department of the MOD managed to place my ship in two positions a thousand miles apart on consecutive days when I was trying to track down my entitlement to the 1915 Naval General Service Medal. I got it after a three-year battle but no thanks to the MOD.)
I used the expression "take into wear." This means that you can mount the medal to the left of and with your existing medals although this is difficult to do since the Russian gong has the standard two-diagonal ribbon, somewhat in the shape of a typed Cyrillic "N".
The reason why the appellation "Arctic Convoy" is applied to this medal should be obvious. The intention was to give it to service personnel who had directly contributed to the Soviet war effort. For the most part, it was only the allied navies who did that although I assume some air force and army people (in addition to the DEMS gunners on merchant ships) must have gone to the Soviet Union to help out.)
Needless to say, the distribution of the medal is haphazard at best. If there had been MOD lists of who served on Russian convoys, there would have been no problem But no such lists existed even before the destruction of files.