Ensuring veterans receive medals
A retired brigadier says more than 30,000 veterans have successfully claimed medals for operations including the Arctic convoys, Bomber Command and the Berlin airlift.
Brig (Retired) Brian Parritt CBE, from Chilmington Green, was asked to write reports into the merits of the claims, based on the general risk and rigour that those involved had to experience.
It follows the controversy of the lack of recognition, particularly for bomber crews who faced post-war unease over the bombing of German cities.
But MPs joined veterans and their families to call for greater recognition, leading David Cameron to launch a review led by diplomat Sir John Holmes.
The Prime Minister announced in December 2013 that new medals and clasps would be issued, and asked former Brigadier Parritt to write reports on how to judge specific claims.
Now more than three years after David Cameron’s announcement figures reveal that thousands of veterans have had their specific service recognised with new medals and clasps.
Brig Parritt said: “Since the end of the Second World War a lot of people felt that these servicemen didn’t get enough awards for their service.
“It was a hell of a big job to distinguish those who should qualify.
“I was told to be strict, as we didn’t want to look like Colonel Gaddafi.
“A significant number of claims have been turned down, but thousands have been approved. The criteria used was the risk and rigour, which is the cornerstone of campaign medals.
“We didn’t think it was fair that Royal Merchant Navy seamen who served on the arctic convoys should be given the Atlantic Star, as those are two different seas.
“On those convoys there was terrible attrition, so the Decorations Committee agreed all the medals were hard fought for.
“I’m just so pleased that so many exservicemen and their next of kin can have their efforts recognised.”
Along with the Arctic convoys and bomber crews, medals and clasps were also created for those who served during the Berlin Airlift of 1948 to 1949.
Veterans who served in Cyprus in 1955 to 1959 and from 1963 to 1964 were also recognised, which included Brig Parritt himself who received his clasp from Lord Astor of Hever.
Brig Parritt also says around 3,000 veterans have so far received the South Atlantic Medal for their service during the Falklands War of 1982.
Thousands from Bomber Command receive the Bomber Command Clasp. Here, a Lancaster bomber with crew members from No 90 Squadron
Brigadier (Retired) Brian Parritt, right, is presented with the clasp for his service in Cyprus in the 1960s by Lord Astor of Hever, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs