Britain's Arctic Convoy Veterans Took Boycotted Seats at Moscow Parade

Mr Shelton, 89, of Edinburgh, said:

  • "Mr Cameron should have come and I feel very annoyed that he didn't ... it is petty and callous to ignore the sacrifice that was made by the 20 million Russians who died in the war."
Tue, May 26, 2015
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Seats that were reserved for delegation from London

Last Sunday's edition of the UK paper the Daily Mail explains that Russian President "outwitted" UK PM David Cameron who boycotted Russia's Moscow V-Day Parade by giving his seats to British citizens, veterans of Arctic Lend-Lease convoys to the USSR. Daily Mail writes

"As a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin knows a thing or two about turning adversity to his advantage. 

So when David Cameron snubbed his Red Square 'Victory Day' commemorations, the Russian leader was determined to outsmart him with a cunning propaganda initiative. 

In place of the Prime Minister on the VIP podium, Putin gave pride of place to three British Arctic convoy heroes. 

Ernie Kennedy, Geoff Shelton and David Craig were seated immediately behind the Russian president and alongside Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

The strategic positioning ensured that TV images that flashed around the world included the three Britons wearing their medals and Arctic convoy white berets."

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Of course Daily Mail misses the point here. The real story isn't that of Putin "outwitting" Cameron. The real story is that told by the attending British veterans - of British government "behaving like spoilt children" - and falling onto three ordinary British citizens to jointly commemorate the victory over Nazism with Russians who had done so much to end it and were of such use to Britain in the war:

Mr Shelton, 89, of Edinburgh, said: 'President Putin gave us the best seats there. I think he wanted to show that we were representing the UK in Mr Cameron's absence.

'Mr Cameron should have come and I feel very annoyed that he didn't. It doesn't matter what the Government thinks or what's happening in Ukraine – it is petty and callous to ignore the sacrifice that was made by the 20 million Russians who died in the war.'

Mr Craig, 90, of Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, added: 'The Russians have treated us a lot better than our own Government, who have just behaved like spoilt children. 

'When I watched the display of military strength, I just thought of the millions of Russians who lost their lives helping us to win the war.'

Perhaps due to having made great sacrifices themselves British veterans are able to appreciate the all-important sacrifices of the Russians and celebrate a joint victory. Sadly the pampered, Oxford-educated British PM is not capable of the same.

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The veterans served on ships in the Arctic convoys braving stormy seas in temperatures of minus 40°C
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