Horwood calls for National Defence Medal awarded by “truly independent” body

Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham Martin Horwood has stepped up calls by the party for a National Defence Medal to be available for all veterans who have served in the Armed Forces.

Here‘s how the Press Association reports the story:

    Martin Horwood, co-chairman of the Parliamentary Party Committee on International Affairs, said a new body was needed which was recognised by veterans as “truly independent”. Currently, any decision to award new medals is made by the Honours and Decorations Committee behind closed doors. But Mr Horwood believes it needs to be disbanded and reformed with a new independent chairman. It must also meet in public so that it is forced to justify its decisions, he said.

And the party website reports Martin saying:

“A National Defence Medal would be a small token of appreciation for the huge debt that everyone in Britain owes to the brave members of our Armed Services, past and present. For too long decisions about medals have been made behind closed doors. We need to bring the debate and consideration into the public gaze, so that veterans and current service personnel can contribute their views and see how decisions are reached.”

Lord (Monroe) Palmer, Martin’s fellow co-chair, adds:

“We achieved significant success in the House of Lords by getting Government agreement that the Pinjat Jasa Malaysia medal, which could be accepted but not worn, can now be worn. We must now go on to make the whole decision making process more transparent. I hope that as part of the review, a National Defence Medal can be instituted which can be applied for by all those who have served in the armed forces since 1945.”

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20 Comments

  • Andrew Suffield 1st Jan '12 - 1:51am

    Ask any veteran, they’ll tell you the same thing: the value of a medal is exactly inversely proportional to the number of people who get it.

  • It is Lib Dem policy after a vote at conference. Australia and Canada have introduced such a medal.
    http://www.bfbs.com/news/forces-welfare/lib-dems-back-plans-national-defence-medal-39281.html

  • There is a huge difference between a medal and an “award or decoration”. A medal is generally to say where you have served or for how long you have served etc, an award or decoration is generally for an act of bravery or for service beyond the norm. Jock is quite wrong if he thinks that everybody who serves on a particular campaign that has been issued a medal to note service on that campaign actually receives one, which is why an independent and transparent committee for the issue of medals should be brought in to replace the old unfair and biased system.
    An example of this, of which there have been many over the years, is the issue of a general sevice medal with “air operations iraq” clasp. I served on 3 “tours” on this operation, each one falling short by 2 days for the issue of the medal so did not receive it, the advance party for each “tour” would leave a day early and come back a day later thus anybody on this would be issued the medal after just 1 “tour”. Guess what, the advanced party was made up of mainly officers and senior nco’s….medals for the boys perhaps?
    What about people back in the 40’s to 60’s who were forced to do national service and received nothing to show for it, people who served under the constant threat of an attack by the IRA, those who served on constant readiness during the cold war etc etc.
    Yes i know that we all chose to join (apart from national service) but the difference with a job in the armed forces to any other job is that if you wake up one day and dont feel like doing it any more you cant just leave, its the level of personal commitment that would be thanked by the issue of a medal for serving.

  • Major S.H. Pollock 2nd Jan '12 - 10:49pm

    A simple medal to recognize those who served this country is long overdue.
    If the Queen can approve one for Australia for 4 years service and last year approved one for New Zealand for 3 years service, or more, Why not for her own military…….

  • Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood,
    Comments are justified for all those who have served in the British Armed Forces. Furthermore, the old system has major issue as it all done behind closed doors! In a democracy it should not happen. To those who commented on those Medals should only be awarded by the closed door policy is outdated scheme. In addition those who argue against a NDM forget the Queen has given her commitment to fellow Commonwealth States regarding a Defense Medal and doesn’t reflect the Monarchy in a good light due to actions of its British Government . Furthermore, tell me if all those servicemen and women and their families who faced IRA attacks everyday on the homeland which resulted in IRA bombing campaign don’t deserve a medal ? In addition how about their family members or civilian victims who suffer from IRA terror actions?

  • There were 43 deaths, for various reasons, in the British Forces in Korea AFTER the cease fire . The DMZ was, and still is, a dangerous area to be near at any time, particularly for the first few months after the end of the “Police Action”.
    The forces there were mainly National Servicemen and they have been completely ignored by the British Governments of various persuasions for over 50 years now. It is time the Colonel Blimps were given the push and some action taken to institute the NDM.

  • It was the same with the Silver Jubilee medal, it was a selected few who got those, mainly the cause was the cost thats another situation that should be rectified. For golden and diamond jubilee medal just about all public services and forces get one.

    The only caveat should be that any ndm sould be for a number of years service say 5 or more maybe but again that would open another can of worms

  • This would prevent the embarrassment of many people who through no fault of their own have no sign of service on remembrance day, a lot of those who served for many years through what was known as the cold war period got nothing, not even jubilee medals in the 1977 fiasco. Most countries treat their veterans better in many ways than we do and most have already instituted National Defence Medals. Sure there are some who decry the idea, including some on this thread but he who shouts loudest does not represent the silent majority, did the medals presented to Dads Army or the 39-45 Defence medals given to Scripture Readers in towns far from any sort of front, devalue those given to our fathers. I think not, stop being so mean spirited and childish and recognise those who stood ready as well as those who actively did their level best to protect this country and it’s values. I would not consider my medals to be devalued by a new medal.. even some of those complaining would accept it as long as they were not seen to do so, peer pressure eh lads!.

  • I must say many NS men would be disappointed with the time
    Served qualification of 4-5 years which seems to crop up
    on some of these forums, why the discrimination?
    I along with many others served two & a half years National
    Service, on tours abroad away from our loved ones for little
    pay (No time served at home at all ..:lived in London trained in NI Ireland)
    Proud to have served Queen & Country but where is the recognition & how many
    would turn up for even the medical these days?

  • Dave Blount 6th Feb '12 - 8:45pm

    I also think that a medal for service veterans is long over due. It would also be nice to see the Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee medals to be made available for those who made the qualifying periods for these medals. Many service personnel served many more years,often in arduous conditions, but because they were not there on the date of the medal issue then their services are not recognised. A finacial contribution could be made towards the cost of the jubilee medals and any profits then presented to the service charities such as SSAFA and Help for Heros

  • If there was a length of time to qualify for a NDM – say three, four or five years, then all the National Servicemen who served in Korea, Malaysia and other locations would not be eligible.
    This medal (hopefully) will be for service since 1945 when NS was still mandatory.

  • A medal to recognise service in HM Forces is a great idea. Many, many servicemen and servicewomen have gone unrecognised, post 1945, for their efforts. HM the Queen has given approval for Australia & New Zealand to issue their own defence medals too – why can’t the ‘Mother country’ do the same? As a naturalised Australian citizen I have seen the issue of these medals as not only a great morale booster but long overdue recognition for many former service people.

  • It is possible today, to have a chest full of medals and not to have seen action, Jubilee medals, LSGC, and various NATO and UN medals. We have become very blingy. I am a holder of the SAM Falklands medal and a holder of the RSPCA Medal for animal life saving, I am very proud of the later, but even though this is a Royal Medal it is not given equal status. So what does a medal do. Well I guess it is recognition that I was there. The whole thing needs looking at.

  • Abit rich saying the NDM should go to people who did over 5 years service, what about the poor T.A. guys like me who signed up for 2.5 years service contract what do we get to show our support for Crown and Country? I’ll tell what we get sweet **** All it always 5years this 5 years that not every 1 service 5 years T.A. contracts end after 3 years or like when i joined 2.5 years or what about the guys in the regs who singed up and did only 4 years they nothing too!.
    It should be every 1 who served over let say 2 years, no other criteria like bountys or crap!, just served 2 years or more and covers every 1 who did national service aswell, then, since national service was 2 years, then every 1 gets 1 then and every 1 is happy! i know i would be proud to recieve 1, then again I am happy with my veterans lapel badge (unnofficial medal) and wear it with pride however I would appreciate the regonition with a medal since i just missed out on GSM from doing a 28 day tour in belgium, but if they do issue 1 they issue every 1 who served 2 years or more or every veteran who was on payroll should be issued 1, fairs fair can’t say better than that.

  • Michael Johnston 11th Jan '13 - 7:36am

    To qualify for the Australian Defence Medal the qualifying time was four (4) years , National Service Men also recieved a
    National Service Medal and a Australian Defence Medal after two years service.

  • Yes – A National Defence Medal is long overdue. Qualifying period ? One that ensures that former National Servicemen
    get recognition as well. I enlisted as a Regular in 1954 and left in 1991. Did I qualify for either the Golden or Diamond Jubilee medal. No, but a PCSO or for that matter a Politician with 5 yrs service did. Do I think that was fair. No !

  • William Daws 2nd Aug '15 - 7:45pm

    Respective governments have been to reluctant to award any form of Decoration, too many of our serviceman are unable to receive awards because of the “time served” limits, the new Cyprus GSM being a good example, I served around Cyprus on Patrols in 1959 but do not qualify for the 90 day new period, I consider the job we were doing was a bit on the dangerous side and anyone who did patrols should be allowed to be awarded despite the fact that they were there for a shorter period of time than the Govt think necessary

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