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War Decorations (New Medals)

Volume 423: debated on Thursday 6 June 1946

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The House will be interested to learn that His Majesty has instituted two new medals for service in the war, a War Medal and an India Service Medal. The first is intended for the full-time armed Forces for non-operational as well as operational service. The second is for three years non-operational service by members of the Indian Forces. This latter award will not be given to anyone qualifying for the Defence Medal. The ribbons are now being woven and will be issued as soon as possible, the medals themselves cannot be ready for some time. I have placed specimens of the two new ribbons in the Library.

When the present qualifications for the Campaign Stars were drawn up the war still continued. The service which they were intended to commemorate had not been completed. It has now been possible to examine the whole matter in retrospect and some of the qualifications have been made less onerous. For instance, the time qualification for the France and Germany Star has been reduced to one day, as in the case of the Africa Star.

The King has also approved a recommendation that the bronze oak leaf emblem signifying a Mention in Despatches should be worn on the ribbon of the new war medal. The plastic oval badge given to those awarded a civil King's Commendation for brave conduct is to be replaced in due course, by a more permanent emblem of silver laurel leaves. When this civil award has been granted for service in the war, the silver emblem will be worn on the ribbon of the Defence Medal, should the recipient have qualified for this latter distinction. In addition a small silver badge is to be instituted for those granted civil King's Commendations for valuable service in the air.

A White Paper dealing with all these matters is available in the Vote Office. It also contains in an appendix a summary of the conditions of award of the campaign stars as they will now stand.

Would the Prime Minister consider an emblem for anti-aircraft service being placed on that new war medal in order to meet a very widely felt grievance that the anti-aircraft service has not been properly recognised?

We cannot properly debate that at the moment. Perhaps the lion. Member would look at the White Paper, and then I should be prepared to answer any supplementary questions on it.

Can the Prime Minister say what progress is being made with designing the Defence Medal and when that medal may be expected; also, whether he has taken into consideration the question of the granting of clasps for war medals?