The Shetland Museum has recently received a rare medal which was awarded to Charles Andrew Mouat (1913-1996) of Stennestwatt, Walls.
The Arctic Star medal is the only Arctic Convoy medal in the museum’s collection. It was donated by Mr Mouat’s former carer Meg Simpson, who claimed it on his behalf.
The Arctic Star medal is a retrospective award which was formally approved by the Queen and began production early in 2013.
The medal recognises the service by those in the forces who were serving north of the Arctic Circle, predominantly those who were involved in the Arctic Convoys during the Second World War.
Many Shetlanders served in these convoys during the war and the medals in their honour can be claimed in recognition of their contribution to the war effort.
The Arctic Convoys of the Second World War were notoriously dangerous. They sailed between the United Kingdom, America and Iceland to northern ports in the Soviet Union, delivering essential supplies.
There were a total of 78 convoys, involving 1,400 merchant ships, between August 1941 and May 1945. Eighty-five merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy warships were lost during these convoys with a great loss of life.
Mr Mouat served on the merchant vessels involved in these convoys; he was torpedoed three times and saw several ships destroyed by enemy submarines. Until now these brave men were unsung heroes of the war and it is fitting that at long last their huge contribution to the war effort has been recognised.
Anyone who thinks they, or a family member, may be entitled to claim the Arctic Star medal, should contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the first instance for more advice. Telephone 029 2044 8844 or visit www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home.htm.