Now they've waited 70 years to receive their medals and today at a special ceremony marking armed forces day, 25 veterans of the Arctic Convoys were honoured.
The Arctic Star medals were due to be sent out in the post but many felt this was no way to recognise the efforts of those who've endured so much.
Kerry Swain reports.
Kerry Swain spoke to Alec Penstone, Ann Briggs and the Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
More top news
The full list of referendum results for South East. Overall the area voted 55.4% in favour of 'Leave'.
Full list of referendum results for South of the Meridian region. Overall the area voted 52.9% in favour of 'Leave'.
Full list of referendum results for Thames Valley. Overall the area voted 51.9% in favour of 'Remain'.