Military Decorations

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st May 2008.

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Photo of Don Touhig Don Touhig Labour, Islwyn

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals has ruled that a medal awarded by a foreign Government may be accepted but not worn by British veterans in the last 30 years.

Photo of Meg Munn Meg Munn Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) recommended in 2006 that veterans should be allowed to accept but not wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal. Similar exceptions were made for the Kuwait and Saudi Arabian Medals following the first Gulf War. Second World War veterans who served in Greece may receive campaign medals from the Greek Government (Greek War Medal and War Star) but permission has not been given to wear the medals. There may be further examples over the last 30 years, but the HD Committee's usual practice is not to recommend acceptance of foreign medals.

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Annotations

David Dilley
Posted on 2 May 2008 7:46 pm (Report this annotation)

Oh dear! 1. The HD Committee recommended in 2006 that veterans should allowed to accept but not wear the Pingat Jassa Medal. Recommended to whom? Who signed the 'Official Letter' to the then Foreign Secretary?
Was it her Majesty? We have evidence that it was signed by another (also a member of the HD Committee)rather than Her Majesty in what was more of a 'departmental note/memo' which stated "The Queen had approved the HD Committee's recommendation that the PJM could be accepted but not worn, rather than the official letter from the Palace which one might have expected. The information we sought for three years, was finally obtained under the Freedom of Information Action, an application which incidentally had been vigourously opposed by the FCO and Cabinet Office. It has always been stated by the many official correspondents that the decision was Her Majesty's, impying that she had signed the decree. We have also been informed that Her Majesty's signature or initials are not to be found on any document the precludes the PJM from being worn.

2. ...."There may be further examples over the last thirty years, but the HD Committee's usual practice is not to recommend acceptance of foreign medals". A Russian medal was accepted after 40years, presumably because it was the politically correct thing to do as they were no longer regarded as enemies; and there were others. Moreover F4the PJM campaigners hold a list, including recent medals, totalling over forty, which have been accepted with no restrictions on wearing which puts paid to the oft submitted claim regarding Double Medalling and the Long Standing 5 Year rule under which medals are not considered by the HD Committee.

Andy Nicoll
Posted on 2 May 2008 8:07 pm (Report this annotation)

If the HD Committee's usual practice is not to recommend acceptance of foreign medals then why the London Gazette of 1968 stating that the Queen has been graciously pleased to approve that Orders, Decorations and Medals conferred with Her Majesty's permission upon United Kingdom citizens, not being servants of the Crown, by the Heads or Governments of Commonwealth countries, as defined above, or of foreign states, may in all cases be worn by the recipients without restriction.

If, as you say, it is the HD Committee's usual practice to not recommend acceptance of foreign medals then you are over-ruling a Royal Decree which has been duly published in the London Gazette.

You also are using the usual bluff by quoting medals issued to servants of the Crown, or serving forces personnel, when you know full well that the PJM deals with British citizens who are civilians and not members of the Crown. If you do not believe me ask the MOD and the HD Committee as they have published facts to confirm this.