Arctic Star

The Arctic Star

Arctic Star

The Government has announced the design of the Arctic Star and the criteria for eligibility for all those who served on the infamous Convoys to Russia; it is rather unfortunate that successive Governments have taken so long to honour these veterans.  Today there are less than 250 survivors from what was dubbed “The Convoy’s from Hell” and it is hoped that every single one of them, plus the families of those who died on war service, or who have crossed the bar since will take the opportunity to apply for this medal.

The criteria for the medal is set out below, and a link to the application form is HERE or further information can be obtained by telephoning 08457 800 900 (local rate). 

The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66° 32‘N) from the 3rd September 1939, to the 8th 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.


Initial research has indicated that the crews of the following RFA’s will be eligible for the Arctic Star having deployed within the Arctic Circle in support of Naval Operations or as Convoy Escort Oilers: –

RFA’s Aldersdale, Black Ranger, Blue Ranger, Boardale, British Lady, Brown Ranger, Gray Ranger, Oleander (2), Oligarch, Rapidol, Scottish American and War Sudra

More detailed research is being undertaken and, if any other RFAs are identified, their details will be added to the above list.

Important Update – 5 April 2013

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Historical Society has learnt that relatives of deceased crew members of ships which sailed on Arctic Convoys may be required, when making an application for the Arctic Star, to specify which convoys that the crew member sailed on. If relatives find that they are unable to provide this information please contact the Editors of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Historical Society for assistance. The Editor’s contact details are shown in the ‘Contact us’ section on the left hand side of this page of this web site.