En­sur­ing veter­ans re­ceive medals

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Round About - By Ai­dan Bar­low

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

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