Scores of Arctic Convoy veterans have missed out on getting a new medal because they "died waiting" for Prime Minister David Cameron to act, the leading campaigner for recognition said.
Commander Eddie Grenfell said the hard-fought victory was tainted because so many shipmates had been denied due to politicians "who have never heard a shot in their lives".
Mr Cameron told the Commons he had accepted an expert review's recommendation that an Arctic Star medal should finally be minted - 67 years after the end of the Second World War.
"I am very pleased that some of the brave men of the Arctic Convoys will get the recognition they so richly deserve for the very dangerous work they did," he said.
But 92-year-old Cmdr Grenfell, from Portsmouth, said he should have acted more quickly to implement a change that had been promised to him by a succession of Conservative leaders in opposition.
"We are pleased but not delighted," he said. "As soon as David Cameron came to power I reminded him of the promise - only now has he got around to doing it. In the meantime God knows how many of my Arctic Convoy chums have died waiting.
"All because we were waiting for these bloody politicians who have never heard a shot in their lives to make up their minds."
Only around 200 veterans were still alive, said the veteran who has himself just left hospital two and a half months after a heart attack, a fifth of the number a decade ago.
Successive Tory leaders had promised him that they would cut through the rigid protocols that had seen the veterans repeatedly rebuffed in their calls for specific recognition, he said.
More than 3,000 seamen died over four years from 1941 on missions to keep open supply lines to Soviet ports which were dubbed the "worst journey in the world" by Winston Churchill.