By New Worker
VETERANS, local dignitaries, ambassadors and members of political and community organisations gathered in Southwark last Sunday for a ceremony of remembrance at the Soviet War Memorial in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in the grounds of the Imperial War Museum.
They included the veterans of the Arctic Convoy Club with their distinctive white berets, who grow fewer in number very year.
Local Southwark Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes was there, who is continuing to support their long struggle for recognition in a specific campaign medal, which they have never been granted.
The previous Labour government extended the Atlantic medal to include them and granted them a lapel badge. But there is still no real recognition for the extreme difficulty and hazards of their journeys, in sub-zero temperatures and preyed upon by U-boats.
Many suspect this is because the Soviet Union did recognise their heroism and granted them medals and the British state resents those who accept medals from socialist states.
Now Prime Minister Cameron, after promising to award them proper medals before the 2010 election, has changed his mind apparently on account of the costs involved.
Also present wearing authentic Soviet uniforms from the 1940s, were members of the British Second Guards Rifle Division Red Army re-enactment group, the largest of its kind in Europe. These enthusiasts, with their replica red hammer and sickle banner bearing a portrait of Lenin, triggered a positive emotional response from members of the London Russian community in attendance and other older people.