GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 31: a general view of the Arctic Star medal awarded to Edwin Leadbetter, 92, from Glasgow

One Degree of Separation

A hero of the Arctic convoys in World War II who missed out on a medal because he was one degree too far south is finally to get his award.

Edwin Leadbetter, 92, from Glasgow poses for a photograph after finally receiving his Arctic Star medal from the MoD at BAE Systems in Govan on July 31, 2017Edwin Leadbetter, 92, was outraged he did not get the Arctic Star and the prestigious Ushakov Medal for his services to Russia in the dangerous voyages as the MoD decided his ship was not eligible as it was deemed to have operated outside the official combat zone.

His daughter Liz McKenna said: “He applied years ago but the MoD said his ship was one degree of latitude out and so he didn’t qualify for the medals.

“It’s rubbish as the ship was heavily involved in the Arctic convoys.”

Edwin’s shipmates have already received medals despite being on the same ship during voyages dubbed “the most dangerous journey in the world” by Winston Churchill.

But after Edwin’s family hit out at the snub, defence chiefs are now set for a u-turn – and Edwin will finally receive the Arctic Star, the Arctic emblem and his veteran’s badge.

He has also been called to the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh next month where he could receive the Ushakov medal.

The news comes after Edwin’s shipmate George Barker, who also served on the anti-submarine escort carrier HMS Fencer, got the Ushakov medal three years ago. George died a week after receiving his medal.

Great-grandad Edwin, from Glasgow, said: “It has been a long wait.”

Edwin served in the Navy from October 1943 until February 1947. He served on HMS Fencer from March to October 1944, providing cover for convoys and for attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz.

Originally posted in the Glasgow Evening Times

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