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Disgusted by this medal snub to Bill
OUR Government has dropped yet another clanger, this time on the foot of Vladimir Putin.
Any chance we have to improve diplomatic relations with any foreign power should be signed with both hands. We had a golden opportunity to enhance goodwill with Russia and they blew it.
Yes Minister was clearly a documentary, not a satirical comedy. Hiding behind stupid outdated laws bound up in red tape clearly shows what a useless bunch the Foreign Office are.
They need to appreciate the meaning of the Ushakov Medal Russia is offering.
To snub Russia in this way is to wave two not-so-diplomatic fingers and risk the potential backlash, such as cutting off gas supplies.
The men who sailed on those convoys may have already received war service medals, but if the grateful recipient of those precious cargos wants to say thank you, where is the harm in that?
To say that they cannot be awarded twice for the same action or that it is more than five years since that action is mind-numbingly stupid and downright insulting.
I don’t often write to The Press, but on this occasion I felt compelled to do so. It makes me feel disgusted to call myself British.
C Tiffany, Kirkdale Road, Osbaldwick, York.
• HASN’T the Government any respect for war veterans and the hardship and deprivation they endured?
How can they, in all conscience, refuse to let Mr Sunderland and his colleagues accept a medal from the Russian government? These medals are offered for everything the men did in order to get supplies through and it is an insult to the servicemen and a huge snub to the Russians. To say this heroism should have taken place within the last five years is ridiculous. The servicemen should be allowed to have the medals on offer.
This is a generous, genuine acknowledgement from Russia for the help given. If this refusal is set in stone, then it’s a downright disgrace to our country. Those men more than earned every thank-you and medal on offer.
Didn’t our government ‘apologise’ for things our country did many years ago to other countries? So – no difference except these medals are given as an honour.
Let them receive them in the spirit in which they are given.
Janet S Kitchen-Cooper, Ashley Park Road, York.
•I READ the story headlined Hero Denied war medal (The Press, October 20) with mounting feelings of frustration and anger.
Some chinless wonder has decided former arctic convoy veteran Bill Sunderland should not be given a medal from the grateful Russian people for his service in those horrific convoys.
Predictably a Foreign Office spokesman said: “There has to have been specific services to the country concerned for an award to be given,”
A friend of mine has an American DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross). I don’t remember the US needing the sort of “special services” the Russians needed in and provided for by the Arctic convoys.
I am an ex-MN marine-engineer (1960-1975) and once served on a 1942-built ship. Still visible were the eye-bolts in the engine-room ventilators which, during the war, would have had ropes attached for engine-room staff to climb up and used as their only means of escape should the ship be sinking.
I don’t know if Mr. Sunderland was engine room staff, but this doesn’t matter. Mr Sunderland was on these convoys and, as such, he has every right to the Russian medal.
Don’t let there be any further delay in awarding Mr Sunderland and his comrades their medals.
Philip Roe, Roman Avenue South, Stamford Bridge.
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