On 29th July 2014 a Ministerial statement was made in the House of Lords in respect of the Honours, Decorations and Medal Committee (HDC) decision not to institute the National Defence Medal and many other medal submissions, which included recognition of service personnel injured or killed in conflict, National Service, Korean Post Armistice, Cold War, Sub Mariners and Nuclear Testing veterans. The timing of this statement was questionable as it was made the day after Parliament had risen for the summer recess thereby avoiding debate by MPs. The HDC membership comprises seven of the most senior civil servants in the UK.
This ministerial statement was surprising, it was as if the HDC had not been aware of the content of the submissions made by these veteran groups, many of whom had been campaigning for over 50 years. This resulted in Dr Martin Halligan submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the Ministry of Defence to obtain sight of the minutes of the Advisory Military Sub Committee of the HDC (AMSC) meeting minutes of 29th August 2013. The AMSC had supposedly studied the findings of the Sir John Holmes independent military medal review, sponsored by the Cabinet Office, and made recommendations after their exhaustive review of the findings and submissions by the veteran groups to the HDC.
The MoD refused to release the minutes, Dr Halligan appealed in August 2014. The MoD used their legal representatives to keep these minutes secret . During a three year period the MoD used every means at their disposal to prevent these minutes from entering the public arena, but eventually the appeal was upheld by the First Tier Tribunal which directed the MoD to release the minutes. These minutes were released in September 2016 and are contained on this web site. The minutes show that the case for the NDM and all the other submissions had not been rigorously reviewed. Both the National Service and Cold War veterans’ submissions were dismissed without any review, the NDM dismissed with discussions on cost only and not on its merits and the and Korea Post Armistice submissions documents not reviewed. The recommendations therefore that went to the HDC, from which these seven senior civil servants made their decisions on the medal submissions representing millions of veterans since the ending of the Second World War were totally flawed. However, it should be noted that FOI requests have failed so far to identify how many of these most senior civil servants were there to make the decisions.
It was clear from this document, reluctantly released by the MoD, that the review, claimed by the Head of the Honours and Appointments Secretariat to have been transparent with decisions made as a result of extensive discussions through a careful and thorough review of submissions, in letters to veterans, service organisations and Members of Parliament, stretching over three years, was misleading and not correct.
The Chairman wrote to the Prime Minister Theresa May, in November and December 2016, requesting a meeting to discuss the above revelations and requested the shameful military medal review be reopened. In both cases the Chairman’s letters were redirected by Number 10 to the Cabinet Office, Honours and Appointments Secretariat to reply. In these replies the points made by the Chairman were dismissed. This resulted in him submitting a comprehensive complaint on 14 February 2017 to the Minister responsible for the Cabinet Office about the lack of due diligence carried out by the Honours and Appointments Secretariat in respect of the military medal review and that action now be taken to recommend to the Prime Minister the medal review be revisited.
Sir Jonathan Stephens KCB the Permanent Under-Secretary for the Northern Ireland Office and the Chairman of the HDC was tasked by the Minister to deal with the complaint. He in turn on the 30 March directed an examination (investigation) be carried out by a retired senior civil servant. On the 3rd April the Chairman requested that Sir Jonathan Stephens agree to the Chairman issuing a brief statement to veterans on the situation. As at today's date the 6 May no reply has been received, Parliament has been dissolved and a General Election is scheduled for the 8thJune.
The campaign goes on to redress this injustice to millions of British Service veterans. It should be noted that there are six Freedom of Information Act requests still outstanding in respect of this cover up. Some have been on-going for over two years and most have now escalated through the Freedom of Information Act process to the First Tier Tribunal with one actually now reaching the Upper Tribunal. Both the MoD and Cabinet Office have spent extraordinary amounts of taxpayers’ money since 2014 in keeping out of the public domain information about a military medal review, which the former Prime Minister David Cameron stated should be an open and transparent process and draw a line in the sand once and for all. Veterans have suffered yet another injustice.
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 94-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.