A NEWTOWNABBEY councillor who has been lobbying the government to strike a special medal for a group of ‘forgotten’ Second World War veterans has written to Her Majesty The Queen asking her to intervene in the matter.
Alderman Billy Ball, who served with the Royal Artillery and the Ulster Defence Regiment, is among a group of campaigners who have been calling for an ‘Arctic Medal’ to be presented to veterans who risked their lives for the allied cause in the freezing Arctic seas.
Between 1941 and 1945, the heroes of the Arctic Convoys ran the gauntlet of German warplanes and U-boats to get vital supplies to the Soviet Union on the Eastern Front during the war.
In June, the DUP representative wrote to HM The Queen as part of his campaign to see a medal struck for those who risked their lives on the dreaded ‘Russian Run’.
In a response from Buckingham Palace this month, a Senior Correspondence Officer informed alderman Ball that the issue isn’t one in which The Queen would personally intervene.
“Nevertheless, as a constitutional Sovereign, Her Majesty acts on the advice of her Ministers and I have, therefore, been instructed to send your letter to the Right Honourable Philip Hammond MP, the Secretary of State for Defence, so that he may know of your approach to The Queen on this matter and may consider the points you raise,” the letter states.
Stressing that the campaign for an Arctic Medal will continue, Alderman Ball commented: “If my letter gets sent on then hopefully the fact that it has come from the top - that it has been passed on by The Queen - will hold some weight with the Defence Secretary.”