On a highly polished background the obverse features only one aspect of the danger faced by many in the hostile environment of the Arctic. It shows a liberty ship forming part of the ‘life line’ convoys which ferried vital cargoes to Russia and the United Kingdom across the Arctic Zone, framed in the cross-hair of the U-boat periscope. The design is surmounted by the wording: ‘For Service in the Arctic Zone 1939-45’.
The reverse portrays a cross section of some of the services involved in this most difficult campaign. The four figures are easily distinguishable as: the merchant seaman whose vessels were the object of Hitler’s marauding wolf packs and long range bombers; the Royal Navy seaman who was committed to ensuring the safety of the convoys and their precious cargoes; the Army is represented by a muffled figure, essential to the existence in the extreme temperatures of the remote land bases they were called upon to defend as well as duty on merchant ships as DEMS gun crews; the airman whose log flying hours afforded the vital air protection required for the safety and success of many convoys.
The 32mm wide ribbon, in water weave equal bands of blue and white, represents the ice and sea which were as much an enemy as any predator. This medal is supplied on a concealed single pin, ready to wear.