Arctic Star and Bomber Command Clasp
Feb. 26, 2013
It has been announced today, 26 February 2013, by the Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois that all the details have been confirmed for the Arctic Star and the Bomber Command Clasp and the application process has now opened. This follows Sir John Holmes' independent medal review and the announcement by the Prime Minister, on 19 December 2012, that these awards should be made in recognition of the great bravery of those who contributed to two very significant campaigns of World War Two.
Her Majesty The Queen has approved designs for the new awards on the basis of recommendations made by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. The design for the Arctic Star is based on the other World War Two Stars and the Bomber Command Clasp, to be worn on the ribbon of the 1939 to 1945 Star, follows the design of the Battle of Britain Clasp.
Production of the new Arctic Star and Bomber Command clasp will commence this week and could result in up to a quarter of a million veterans, and the families of those who have sadly died, applying to receive the new awards in recognition of their unique contribution protecting Britain during World War II. Priority in issuing the awards will be given to veterans and widows who could receive their awards in a few weeks. Other next of kin may also apply now but will have to wait slightly longer to receive their award.
Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois said:
“All those who served our country in Bomber Command and on the Arctic Convoys deserve nothing but the utmost respect and admiration from us. That's why I am delighted that these special individuals will in the next few weeks begin to receive the Bomber Command clasp and Arctic Star that they have so long deserved. “I am also pleased to announce that the families of those no longer alive will also be able to apply for these awards in recognition of their loved one's bravery.”
The qualifying period for the Arctic Star is “service of any length” recognising the particular severity of the conditions experienced by those who served in the Arctic. Whilst the primary intent is to recognise those who served on the Arctic Convoys, eligibility is extended to include all who served north of the Arctic Circle in World War Two. Those eligible will include members of all three Services as well of course as the Merchant Navy who crewed the ships taking the vital supplies to Russia.
The criteria for the Bomber Command Clasp requires prior qualification for the 1939 to 1945 Star, to which it will be affixed, with the additional requirement to have flown at least one operational sortie with a Bomber Command operational unit. A clasp was deemed more appropriate, by Sir John, in the case of Bomber Command as aircrew had already received either the Aircrew Europe Star or the France and Germany Star and another medal would have constituted “double-medalling” for the same service.
Details of the criteria:
Bomber Command Clasp to the 1939-45 Star
A Clasp to the 1939-45 Star is granted to the aircrew of Bomber Command who served for at least sixty days, or completed a tour of operations, on a Bomber Command operational unit and flew at least one operational sortie on a Bomber Command operational unit from the 3 rd September, 1939, to the 8 th May, 1945, inclusive. The award of the Clasp is to be denoted by a silver rose Emblem when the ribbon alone is worn.
Eligibility is extended to those members of Bomber Command aircrew who did not meet the qualifying criteria due to service being brought to an end by death, wounds or other disability due to service, service marked by a gallantry award or taken as a prisoner of war.
Foreign nationals commissioned or enlisted into British or, the then, Dominion Air Forces (e.g. Royal Canadian Air Force or Royal Australian Air Force) are eligible provided the individuals did not receive a similar award from their own Government.
Eligibility to the Bomber Command Clasp has no effect upon eligibility for World War Two recognition previously awarded and does not suggest automatic eligibility for any further awards.
The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32'N) from the 3 rd September, 1939, to the 8 th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. Eligibility is defined as follows:
Navy and Merchant Navy – Naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia. Fleet Air Arm Personnel, not qualified by sea service may qualify under the conditions applying to the Royal Air Force.
Air Force – Aircrew of the Royal Air Force will be eligible if they landed north of the Arctic Circle or served in the air over this area. Non aircrew on operational service in the area, for example ground crew or those sailing with CAM ships (Catapult Aircraft Merchant Ships), are also eligible.
Army – Army personnel serving in His Majesty's ships or in defensively equipped Merchant ships qualify under the rules applying to the Navy or Merchant Navy. In addition, personnel taking part in land operations north of the Arctic Circle will also be eligible.
Civilians serving with the Forces – Members of the few approved categories of civilians who qualify for Campaign Stars will be eligible if, in support of military operations, they meet any of the above qualifying criteria.
Foreign nationals commissioned or enlisted into British or, the then, Dominion Forces (e.g. Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Australian Navy) are eligible provided the individuals did not receive a similar award from their own Government.
General – Eligibility to the Arctic Star has no effect upon eligibility for World War Two recognition previously awarded and does not suggest automatic eligibility for any further awards.
Eligible veterans and next of kin are now encouraged to apply using the relevant application forms , which can be found on this page, or by telephoning the MOD Medal Office on 08457 800 900 (a local rate number) for further details. An application must be made as it is simply not possible for the MOD to contact veterans or families of all of those who may be eligible going back almost 70 years.
Courtesy of www.veterans-uk.info