National Defence Medal

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th January 2015.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 2:30 pm, 12th January 2015

There is a long-standing and widely understood military tradition that medals are not awarded as a record of service but in recognition of specific campaigns or operations, acts of gallantry or outstanding service. We set up an independent review into medals and decorations, and its chair, Sir John Holmes, specifically considered this matter and decided against such a medal. That decision received royal approval.


Dave Butler
Posted on 13 Jan 2015 7:40 pm (Report this annotation)

Sir John Holmes did not decide against National Defence Medal, he in fact said it was worthy of further consideration. A terminological inexactitude I believe Madam.......

John Proffitt, Chairman, British Airborne Forces Bureau (Commonwealth Veterans Association)
Posted on 13 Jan 2015 11:56 pm (Report this annotation)

The National Defence Medal was not requested for Campaign Service or Gallantry. Veterans and Services of HM Armed Forces requested recognition for their Defence Service to United Kingdom that required them to stand ready to defend against any foe, terrorist or assassin and respond when required in an emergency crisis. Many of our veterans left the military after 22+yrs service with no recognition.

Alan McNeilly
Posted on 18 Mar 2015 5:37 pm (Report this annotation)

I believe the Minister must have selective memory. Perhaps she has forgotten the attacks by the IRA on 5th October 1974 in Guilford and on 10th October 1981 on Chelsea Barracks or on 28th June 1996 in Osnabruck, West Germany to name but a few. As I recall throughout nearly 30 years of their campaign the Armed Services were at constant risk of attack around the world.

Perhaps the Minister is unaware that during the Cold War on 2 to 4 hours notice to deploy our life expectancy was 6 to 8 hours if we were lucky. I didn't see anyone refusing to get in their APC and fight for the Nation. Perhaps there was no risk in any of these situations and it is just my imagination.

Tony M is quite correct in his statement, the criteria for the award of medals is much broader then the Minister pronounced. The refusal of the Government to progress the NDM openly and fairly is unjust. There were many who lost their lives during the period the medal is designed to cover, many were injured and thankfully many survived. For MPs to brush these veterans aside as unworthy is quite frankly a disgrace.