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Korea (Campaign Medal)

Volume 486: debated on Monday 9 April 1951

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45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now make a statement about campaign medals for British Forces in Korea.

45.

asked the Prime Minister when he proposes to announce the details of a Korean campaign medal and appropriate ribbon.

49.

asked the Prime Minister if he will now make a statement regarding the issue of a cam- paign ribbon and medal to members of the Forces serving in Korea.

I have been asked to reply. I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 5th March to the hon. and learned Member for Richmond, Surrey (Sir G. Harvie-Watt).

Was not the purport of that reply that it was too early yet to take a decision on the matter? Is that really right? This is clearly a campaign and British troops have been serving there for more than eight months, in the most arduous conditions. Would it not have a beneficial effect on the morale of British troops fighting in Korea, and British troops everywhere, if an early decision was reached and a campaign medal instituted?

The view which was expressed by my right hon. Friend was one which is customary in regard to these events, and he does not think that the time is yet ripe. In any case, this is a matter in which he takes a very personal interest and I should not like to deal with it in his absence.

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Americans were given a campaign medal in December last? Surely, four months later, our men, who have been carrying out their duties there with great credit, are also entitled to be considered.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that such a campaign medal would give great encouragement and satisfaction to our troops, who have now been fighting there for more than six months? The Americans have already given a campaign medal.

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the early consideration of this matter will not be allowed to interfere with the consideration of an important matter which equally affects the British Forces in Korea, namely, the nature of the Supreme Command under which they are serving?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is very strong feeling on the subject among the troops concerned and those who are most interested in their welfare, and will he ask the Prime Minister to look into the matter as soon as he can?

Would not the Minister also agree that there is strong feeling that the best medal which could be given to some of these men would be to bring them back?

Does the right hon. Gentleman recollect that in 1914 a medal was issued for a campaign within nine months of its commencement?