On the 2nd April I wrote to Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, to seek his involvement, on behalf of veterans, up and down the country, who have been waiting for a decision on medallic recognition of their service to the Nation.
I thanked him for his previous personal intervention and those of the Prime Minister, in getting the previous MoD medal review findings quashed in late 2011 and Sir John Holmes being commissioned to carry out a fresh medal review sponsored by the Cabinet Office. Indeed it was these actions in establishing a new review that provided all Service medal campaign groups the opportunity to have their individual cases re-assessed.
I drew his attention to the fact that Sir John’s initial review was completed, published and copies promulgated to the various medal campaign groups in July 2012. This had resulted in medallic recognition of the Arctic Convoy and Bomber Command veterans together with inter alia a strong recommendation that the National Defence Medal was worthy of further study. In addition, Sir John’s report had highlighted a need for much greater transparency in the medal review system.
I asked the Deputy Prime Minister to confirm that Sir John’s final medal review report was completed in December 2013 and its findings discussed by the Honours and Decorations Committee at their meeting on 31st January 2014. I also requested that the report be publicly released or promulgated to the Chairmen of the various medal campaign groups in line with Sir John’s recommendation in his previous report for greater transparency.
I drew Mr Clegg’s attention to correspondence with the Cabinet Office Honours and Appointments Secretariat, in which they had stressed that HD Committee reports of meetings are not published. However, they had provided the following information on the 31st March 2014:
‘The majority of outstanding claims for medallic recognition and the Committee’s recommendations have received Royal approval in the usual way; a few claims require further work and an announcement will be made as soon as possible when the full set of reviews is complete and has been approved. Many government departments have an interest in medals and need to be consulted. This is currently underway. No decisions have yet been made about what form such an announcement will take.’
I went on to explain in my letter to the Deputy Prime Minister that there was a great deal of frustration about the lack of transparency and information surrounding this final stage of the medal review. I therefore asked him to confirm whether or not a decision had yet been made on the institution of a UK National Defence Medal and if not details of when a decision is likely to be made.
Today (Monday 19th May) I received the following reply from Nick Clegg MP Leader of the Liberal Democrats.
He confirmed that the Holmes medal review was completed in December 2013 and that the Honours and Decorations Committee met in January this year. He stated that in accordance with the HD Committee’s standard practice, the minutes of this meeting have not been published. Mr Clegg assured me that the National Defence Medal was discussed at the Honours and Decorations Committee and reassured me that representatives from his private office attended that meeting.
Perhaps the most worrying part of his reply was that after the HD committee met in January he asked for further information from the Holmes Review and that he is waiting for their response. He confirmed that no decision at present has been made about the award of the National Defence Medal and that the HD Committee will be meeting again in early summer to discuss the issue in more detail.
So what do I as the Co- Chairman of the NDM campaign think about this. Well first of all I am appreciative to Mr Clegg for his continued support but I am extremely disappointed that we appear to be worse off than we have ever been in obtaining information. At least with the Ministry of Defence we were able to put down Freedom of Information Act requests and we would eventually obtain the information. We appear now to be in a situation where we are unable to have sight of Sir John Holme’s medal review report which all medal campaign groups contributed to; we are not able to have sight of the HD Committee minutes; and we have no idea what, in our submission for the National Defence Medal, requires a further response by Sir John that will be discussed in the early summer by the HD Committee.
So, we continue to wait, hundreds of thousands of our supporters and veterans continue to get older, continue to become infirmed, and continue to die as we enter year seven of our campaign in what should have been a climate of ‘much greater transparency in the medal review system’. A situation the Prime Minister called for in respect of the medal review system in 2010.
Best wishes to you all, we continue to fight,
Colonel Terry Scriven (Retd)
UK National Defence Medal Campaign
A new campaign has been started on the forces Reunited website:
It is another tool we can use to assist ensuring the message reaches as wide an audience, we do of course wish it well.
It can help if publicised enough, remember we have limited resources to get the word about. However, we encourage all visitors to the site to click on the link and spend a couple of minutes registering, it is free.
It is worth pointing out to doubters that the cost of the medal will be minimal to the public purse if the Government follow our suggestions.
Follow us on twitter: @NDM_UK
THE GOVERNMENT’S (MoD) MEDAL REVIEW - UK NDM COMMENTS
You may recall that as a result of the efforts by the Chairmen of the National Defence Medal Campaign the Ministry of Defence Medal review, part of the Coalition Government’s commitment, to rebuild the broken Military Covenant, was discredited. This resulted in both the Prime Minister and his Deputy refusing to endorse the review report and it being returned to the Ministry of Defence to consult with veterans.
The Ministry of Defence have still failed to consult but sent the findings of its discredited report to representatives of the various Medal campaigns for comment. The NDM submitted their comments (NDM comments document), it also recommended that the Medal review be reconstituted under an independent chair, it widens it’s terms of reference, consults widely with stakeholders including veterans, it takes into account recommendations by the Military Covenant Commission’s report and fulfils the Conservative Party’s election manifesto commitment and that of the Coalition Government.
Where are we now?
The closing date for comments was 30th June and the NDM campaign comments met that deadline. In addition to them being sent to the MoD review team, copies were sent to and have been received by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. Unfortunately despite our requests, there is still no information in respect of the process for reviewing the comments submitted. Indeed, since the submission of the NDM campaign comments, over three weeks ago (24thJune), there has been no correspondence from the Ministry of Defence on the matter.
The NDM campaign team have however continued to be active. There have been responses to our various Freedom of Information Act requests: we now know from the Service Personnel & Veterans Agency that records of all those who have been issued with the MoD veterans identification lapel badge are not held; we know from the Cabinet Office that they and the Honours and Decorations Committee hold no information on the extension of the ‘Five Year rule from covering gallantry awards to all medals awarded to the Armed Forces as previously claimed by the Ministry of Defence.
The Ministry of Defence are still claiming, despite evidence to the contrary, that the terms of reference they set for the Medal review were in accordance with the Coalition’s Programme for Government. Interestingly, the MoD have not replied to an FOI request in respect of the remit the Coalition Government gave them to carry out the Medal Review; we will continue to push for an answer. For the first time we now have in writing, which is surprising in this era of greater government transparency, that the MoD considered there was no requirement to formally announce the commencement of the Medal review or publish the terms of reference.
Through the work of the NDM campaign the Medal Review is still very much alive. In response to one newspaper in the last few days (The NEWS) a Ministry of Defence spokesperson stated, “It could take many months until the review is finally settled. We are working with veterans. The review is on going and there is no date for when it will end.”
The case for the UK National Defence Medal is substantial. Both our Chairmen and I have offered to work with the Ministry of Defence to help take this Medal Review forward and regardless how long it takes we will continue to press for a reconstituted review, which is independently chaired and consults broadly.
Arnold Schwartzman, OBE, RDI, FRSA. Patron UK National Defence Medal Campaign
Pre 16th May 2011
The background and arguments on the case for certain medals, such as the institution of
a National Defence Medal, are well known and understood by Ministers and officials
and will be fully considered. At this time, I do not believe there is a requirement for
further consultation during this review." The review is complete the conclusions should be announced shortly after Easter.
Post 16th May 2011
A draft medal review has now been completed by the Ministry of Defence. In line with the Government's Transparency Agenda, the relevant elements of the report will shortly be sent to representatives of the various medal campaign groups, including for the National Defence Medal, that have pressed in recent years for recognition for service which they consider has gone unacknowledged. This will provide an opportunity for us to consider the views of the various campaign groups up to the 30th June 2011.
This was NOT consultation, the review was COMPLETE. There are to be no revised Terms of Reference, no independent chair, or even any suggestion that one word of the review completed back in January will be changed.
NDM Motion Unanimously Passed
Well done to the Col. Terry Scriven (Rtd) for delivering such a passionate and moving speech at the LibDem conference in Liverpool. As the opening motion of the event all eyes were on Terry, but the pressure did not show. Then one after another the other speakers took turns in reinforcing the message. The conference unanimously passed the motion. A fantastic result, and a clear message to the nation and the Government.
Welcome to the UK National Defence Medal (NDM) campaign homepage.
The site will give you an insight into why we are demanding full official recognition for our proud Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen who have protected our nation through all types of political turmoil since the Second World War.
It is our belief that an NDM is a reasonable and proper way for the nation to demonstrate to all HM Armed Forces that their service is appreciated. A small token of recognition for putting themselves at the mercy of the Country's leaders in the hope it will act in the citizens best interests. A medal that can be "officially" worn on parade with pride.
The Veterans Badge is an unofficial MoD offering and it's purpose is different from the NDM. We see it however, as a first step to proper recognition.
"There's nothing more important to troops than a medal - they are incredibly emotive and they mean the world to soldiers.”
Patrick Mercer, MP for Newark, and former infantry commander – Daily Telegraph 19/04/2008
Early Day Motion (EDM327)
Although the EDM is now closed it can still be used as evidence to new parliamentarians as to the level of political support. Post election we will all need to re-engage our Members of Parliament to remind them of their promises.
The new Government should signal the start of a process that finally leads to the House of Commons doing the right thing. As our representatives, their role is to give us a voice and take up our grievances. Refusal to properly engage and act is no less than a dereliction of their duty.
EDM327 reached 184 Signatures!
The shame surrounding the MOD has increased since they made the decision not to recognise the service of the millions of Servicemen and women who have become our ‘Forgotten Heroes’ by the award of a National Defence medal.
This comes at a time of great outpouring of support for our Armed Services by the public and a professed support for restoring the military covenant by the Government and the leaders of all political parties.
Evidence of appropriate recognition for the award of a medal and not just a badge to those who have served in the Armed Forces since the end of the Second World War is overwhelming. The reasons for non-recognition are shallow at best.
The lack of recognition of our ‘Forgotten Heroes’ includes service in Korea (post armistice); the Berlin Airlift; the Cold War, where hundreds of our service men and women died on duty and many more were discharged as a result of their injuries; the IRA atrocities outside of Northern Ireland which saw our soldiers killed and maimed on the streets of Germany and in England, and of course National Service veterans who are now in their 70s and 80s; the list is endless.
Colonel Terry Scriven, Co-Chairman of the National Defence Medal campaign said, “The MOD’s decision is dreadfully wrong. I hope that as this campaign grows with public support the Government, whose responsibility it is to decide on a medal of recognition of service, will speedily review this situation just as they did with the Ghurkha campaign.
FORCES sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn has got behind a veteran campaigners quest for medal recognition for all members of the armed forces. Roy Wilson wants a National Defence Medal (NDM) created for everyone who has served in the armed forces since the end of the Second World War.
The British Government has never considered service in the Armed Forces as the sole justification for an honour.
The liaison officer for National Service Veterans Association charmed the 92-year-old wartime songstress at the London Poppy Appeal launch, in Horse Guards Parade, in central
The whole NDM team wish to thank Roy, Dave and Eddie for their amazing effort.
An enthusiastic and successful march to
Petition to say THANKS
Please sign our petition Thanking our Armed Forces, and requesting they are properly Honoured (Almost 2000 signatures so far).
Sorry petition now closed !!
As a former National Serviceman who served with the RAEC at
Read the full letter, Click Here.
Archaic honours and awards system
The National Defence Medal campaign exposes the gross injustice by this government towards those both willing and called upon to defend the freedoms which they and everyone else enjoys. Whilst other Commonwealth countrys' are now striking medals for their brave and dedicated service personnel in recognition of their service and for the sacrifices, the
By A. Davies (click on image for full article)