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Armed Forces: Medals

Volume 716: debated on Friday 15 January 2010


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will authorise the granting of a commemorative medal to those who served in Bomber Command during World War II; and what are the reasons for their decision. [HL886]

The Ministry of Defence has a long-standing policy not to issue commemorative medals to service personnel other than for Royal Coronations and Jubilees.

Since the end of World War II, the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (known as the HD committee), which is responsible for recommending to Her Majesty The Queen on the award of new medals, has a consistent and well-established policy that it will not consider the belated institution of awards and medals for service given many years earlier. The reason for this policy is that the present HD committee cannot put itself in the place of the committee which made the original decision and which would have been able to take account of the views of all interested parties at the time. In addition, if an exception were to be made for one case, then it would be almost impossible to refuse to reconsider every other claim for the retrospective institution of an award or medal.

There were no medals awarded purely for service in a particular command during World War II. Those who completed the minimum qualifying period of service in operational areas were eligible for the 1939-45 Star and those with long service in non-operational areas received the defence medal. In addition to the 1939-45 Star and defence medal, a series of campaign stars were created for participants in particularly hazardous campaigns, and many Bomber Command personnel qualified for the much prized aircrew Europe Star or, for example, the France and Germany Star.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering the award of a United Kingdom national defence medal for Her Majesty's Armed Force personnel who have served since the end of World War II. [HL933]

The arguments in favour of the medal were set out in May 2009 in a document prepared by the National Defence Medal Society entitled, the National Defence Medal—Veterans Recognition Report. The points made in the report have been carefully considered. My honourable friend, the Minister for Veterans, wrote to the society on 20 September 2009, stating that it has been concluded that it is not appropriate to institute a new national defence medal.

The HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge was introduced in May 2004. The lapel badge is a fitting tribute, where veterans can demonstrate that they have served their country as members of the Armed Forces. Many veterans wear the badge on a daily basis and many more on parades.