Families urged to claim war medals

FAMILIES of Second World War veterans are being urged to claim medals honouring their loved ones.

Picture: Sean Bell

The survivors and the descendants of those who lost lives during the sinking of the HMS Lancastria troopship by German dive bombers only have a few weeks left to apply for their medals.

The sinking, on June 17 1940, accounted for the greatest loss of life in Royal Navy history with only an estimated 2,500 people out of the 9,000 strong crew surviving.

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The Scottish Government commissioned a commemorative medal in 2008, and more than 375 medals have since been issued across the world.

Oil-stained survivors the RMS Lancastria. Picture: Contributed

But the upcoming 75th anniversary of the event signals the closure of the medal application process, with the last day for applications on May 15.

Veterans’ Secretary Keith Brown said: “We in Scotland feel a strong bond with the servicemen and women who have served us throughout the years and continue to protect the democratic freedoms we still enjoy today.

“The commemorative HMS Lancastria medal from the Scottish Government is a lasting reminder of our gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on that fateful day. Their memory is honoured, their place in history is secured.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they or a family member is entitled to one to get in touch and make sure they wear that medal with pride as we mark the 75th anniversary of an incredible chapter of our naval history.”