Russian Convoy Club
of New Zealand

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Veterans of the Arctic Convoys 1941 - 1945

This website is owned by the Russian Convoy Club of New Zealand © 2004 - 2017  This page updated January 2017

It was announced on Tuesday 26 February 2013, by the United Kingdom's Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans Mark Francois that the application process has now opened for the Arctic Star

Her Majesty The Queen 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 other World War Two Stars.

Production of the new Arctic Star 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 award in recognition of their unique contribution protecting Britain during World War II. Priority in issuing the awards will be given to veterans and widows. Other next of kin may also apply  but will have to wait slightly longer to receive their award.

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 the Merchant Navy who crewed the ships taking the vital supplies to Russia.

Eligible veterans and next of kin are 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 UK 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


Arctic Star

One million 20th century Merchant Navy seamen records are going online for the first time ever. When asked what the Merchant Navy was, 54% of the British population couldn’t answer correctly, even though almost 90% have heard of it. This is a sad fact considering the Merchant Navy was integral to putting Britain on the trade and industry world map and were named by Churchill as Britain’s ‘fourth service’. The revelation comes as www.findmypast.co.uk, a leading UK family history website, publishes these fascinating records online in partnership with The National Archives.

Though these records do not cover the war time period, the Merchant Navy supported the Royal Navy during times of conflict, including WW1 and WW2. During these wars the Merchant Navy suffered heavy losses from German U-boat attacks. Official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seamen throughout history has taken place every 3rd September, with the Annual Merchant Navy Parade and Reunion taking place in Trinity Gardens, Tower Bridge, London on the closest Sunday.

The Merchant Navy Seamen records are the only set of their kind available online and have been published in association with The National Archives. The records show that the seamen who made up the Merchant Navy not only came from the UK, but from every continent, with large numbers from across English-speaking world (notably the maritime provinces of Canada), from the West Indies and Sierra Leone, and from Scandinavia, Somaliland, China and Japan. There are even some seamen from landlocked Switzerland.

You can search these records at
www.findmypast.co.uk/search/merchant-navy-seamen


Merchant Navy records now online

Asia-Pacific Trade and Economic Integration: Strategic Opportunities for Russia and New Zealand
Hon Tim Groser, New Zealand's Minister of Trade in addressing the New Economic School, Moscow
Monday 31 May 2010

On the 9 May each year, a small group of now elderly men gather before a memorial plaque on the waterfront of Wellington, New Zealand's capital. They are joined there by staff from Russia's Embassy and senior representatives from New Zealand's Defence Force.

Each year the numbers are necessarily fewer, yet each year the occasion is more significant. These men are the survivors of the New Zealanders who took part in the Arctic convoys between 1941 and 1945. Through their service and through their personal sacrifices, they helped to keep open the critical supply links between Russia and its wartime allies.

That commemoration is a reminder of the events that led to the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Russia and New Zealand, 66 years ago. It was the reality of a wartime alliance that led the two countries to formalise their relationship. For New Zealand as a small country, it has always been important to be in touch with the thinking of one of the world's major powers.

Today, building on earlier discussions between Foreign Minister Lavrov and the NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr McCully, Russia's Minister of Economic Development, Elvira Nabiullina, and I reached agreement to begin laying the groundwork for formal commencement of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Russia, joined by its partners under the Customs Union, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

If our two Governments can bring this to a successful conclusion, I have no doubt that this will later be seen as the most important step forward in bilateral ties between NZ and Russia since the establishment of diplomatic relations all those decades ago ...

... but the main game will be the bigger strategic advantage. As the negotiation now passes to agencies, my main hope is that this high level consideration will continue to drive the negotiation so that it becomes the next significant milestone in 66 years of diplomatic relations that grew out of the service of New Zealanders in the Arctic convoys


Arctic Convoys and Free Trade

Royal New Zealand Navy
celebrated 75th anniversary with International Fleet Review, Auckland November 2016

The Royal New Zealand Navy celebrated its 75th Anniversary (1941-2016) during November 2016   with one event being the Fleet Entry into Ports of Auckland by warships from around the globe including:  Australia, Chile, China, South Korea, India, Japan, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Singapore and Indonesia. Some ships due to take part were reassigned to earthquake relief duties off the South Island of New Zealand.