Orders of the Day — Ex-Service Men (Badge).

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 19th March 1942.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Eden Mr Anthony Eden , Warwick and Leamington

I feel pretty certain, from my own recollection, that it was since the war. The scheme was submitted to the King and had His Majesty's approval. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for South East Leeds (Major Milner) seemed to put his finger on the difficulty, which is where to draw the line. The hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Burke) spoke of the line as being nebulous. I do not know whether a line can be nebulous, but it is certainly wavy, and it is very difficult to draw it straight. Wherever you draw it, there are bound to be hardship cases on either side. My own feeling is that I should be very reluctant to ask my colleagues to widen the terms of reference for this particular Badge. It is very desirable that it should be highly valued by those who get it. That means that you must not widen your scope too much. I often thought that the trouble about the last war with practically all the decorations was that as the causes for which they could be given were widened they became of less and less value. I felt perhaps that the ordinary private soldier would have preferred a decoration for six months' service in the line.

For these reasons and others I should be very reluctant to ask my colleagues to increase the number of those who will become entitled to this actual Badge. But what has been said to-day makes me feel that there is a case for further examination as to whether some other badge might not be made available for those who fall on the wrong side of the line in respect of the King's Badge. That is a matter which should have further examination, and I am prepared to take the matter up and see whether something of that kind can be done—to have it investigated and to report to the House again upon the decision that we may arrive at. I think on the whole that is the fairest procedure, and I hope it will commend itself to the House.