Ex-Service Men (Badge).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 17th February 1942.

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Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the cases of ex-Service men who have served overseas during the present conflict and subsequently been discharged on medical grounds, who are receiving white feathers as, not being in receipt of a pension, they have no distinguishing badge to wear with civilian clothes and, in particular, the case of ex-Driver A. V. Burtenshaw, late Royal Army Service Corps, a shoemaker, who was discharged for heart trouble after Dunkirk and has received a number of such emblems, which is having a serious effect on his means of livelihood; and whether he will reconsider his decision not to issue the "Services Rendered" badge to those ex-Service men who, although not physically fit, volunteered and were accepted for service overseas and subsequently discharged on medical grounds?

Photo of Mr Gerald Palmer Mr Gerald Palmer , Winchester

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will reconsider the decision not to award silver badges for services rendered to personnel who have been invalided from the Army since September, 1939, but whose disability is not attributable; and whether he will make it clear that the issue of such a badge does not, in itself, involve a liability on the Government to grant a pension?

Photo of Mr David Margesson Mr David Margesson , Rugby

Mr. Burtenshaw's disability was considered to be constitutional and not connected in any way with his military service. He is therefore not eligible for the Kin's Badge under the existing rules. I do not consider that any alteration in these rules is desirable. Everybody is now liable to be compelled to undertake some form of national service and I think the badge should be kept as a special distinction for those who have suffered as a result of a disability which is directly due to their military service.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Is the Minister not aware that there is another class which has also suffered, and doubly suffered, because they have not been given a pension? Is it not a small thing to grant such a distinction like this to those who have served their country?

Photo of Mr David Margesson Mr David Margesson , Rugby

Everybody is serving his country in some way.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

Is the Minister's decision in this matter irrevocable?

Photo of Mr David Margesson Mr David Margesson , Rugby

I see no reason to alter it.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.