asked the Prime Minister whether he has considered awarding some distinguishing emblem to volunteers of the R.E. who formed the bomb disposal sections in 1940–41; and whether he has any statement to make.
Service in mine or bomb disposal units of the Forces in this country is to be recognised by the award of the Defence Medal, and on account of the hazards of the occupation, the time qualification of three years has been specially reduced to three months. The grant of an emblem in addition, to be worn on the ribbon, would at once give rise to demands from other quarters which it is evident could not be overlooked, and it would be almost impossible to draw a dividing line at any particular point. In the result, emblems would soon become of slight value as a form of recognition, and it is not proposed to recommend the institution of a special emblem for this purpose. I should like to take this opportunity of paying a tribute to the services and the bravery of the officers and men of the mine and bomb disposal units who undertook tasks of great danger during the enemy attacks on the United Kingdom.
Might I associate myself with what the right hon. Gentleman has just said and add that I think it is historically correct to say that we did not ask for volunteers for this service? We thought that would be wrong in view of the nature of the service, but that in no way detracts from the gallantry of what that service did, and I think the House will welcome the extra tribute which has been paid to them.