Britain honors veterans of Murmansk Run

March 20, 2013 at 2:05 AM

LONDON, March 20 (UPI) -- Survivors of the Murmansk Run, the World War II route that carried supplies to the Soviet Union, received a belated British medal Tuesday.

Prime Minister David Cameron presented the Arctic Star to a group of convoy veterans at 10 Downing Street, the Daily Mirror reported.

Commander Eddie Grenfell, 93, who led a 16-year campaign for the medal, was unable to travel to London. He was honored in a ceremony at the Guildhall in Portsmouth, Britain's most historic navy town.

"Mr. Cameron has always supported our claim but was hampered by civil service bureaucracy just as I was," Grenfell said.

"I'm sad so many of my colleagues are no longer with us to receive their medals."

Grenfell served on four convoys and was once rescued from the icy Arctic Ocean after a sinking. The voyage was so dangerous Prime Minister Winston Churchill called it "the worst journey in the world."

Former Navy Lt. Commander Roy Dykes, 93, said his time in the convoys was the hardest in his life.

"The decks would be very slippery with ice, and the ship would be rolling, but you daren't touch the rails because if you did, you would lose your skin," he said.

Veterans of the Murmansk Run were denied medals immediately after the war because of Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.

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