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SIR JOHN HOLMES MEDAL REVIEW REPORTS

Posted by National Defence Medal on July 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

 

Our campaign for a National Defence Medal began in earnest back in 2007, it pulled together several initiatives and consolidated effort in one direction.  We put together a strong case but despite our endeavours the submission for the medal was turned down by the MoD in June 2009 and they considered the issue closed.


 

By the Autumn of 2009 the NDM campaign was re-launched and our efforts rewarded, first by a 2010 Early Day Motion in parliament supporting the institution of the medal and then by the initiation of a medal review carried out by the MoD.  This review reported in 2011 but its findings and process were considered flawed, consequently government decided Sir John Holmes should conduct a new independent review from 1 May to 29 June 2012.  


 

Today, the report of the independent Medal Review, carried out by Sir John Holmes, on behalf of the Prime Minister, has published its report. Sir John was not asked to rule on the merits of particular campaign groups’ claims but he has taken full account of the issues raised by these groups including the NDM campaign.  The report concludes that the idea of a National Defence Medal, in recognition of military service of whatever form is worthy of consideration and that it is in a separate category from military campaign medals and should be treated accordingly.  


 

Sir John has further recommended a Cabinet Office-led working group should look at the merits of the NDM along with examples of defence medals awarded by other countries.  Any recommendations of the working group should initially be made to the government in the Autumn but since the decision on the NDM is of broad national significance, it would also require broad political and public consensus.      


 

Although there is still some way to go this should be considered as a significant achievement by everyone towards the institution of a UK National Defence Medal; well done we are still in there fighting.  


 

Click HERE to read the full Medal Review report, your comments would be appreciated.

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20 Comments

Reply 1 Cheshire (22nd of Foot)
6:00 PM on July 17, 2012 
Yes , well done , and well done to Sir John Holmes for his seemingly diligent efforts in getting to the roots of the evidences and arguments in support of a British Armed Forces National Defence Medal .
Reply Dave Kelley ex RAF Regiment
6:00 PM on July 17, 2012 
I think we can be quite chuffed, whilst Sir John has not directly ruled out an NDM, he has said it is something that needs further investigation, by the reconstituted HD committee and sub committee, so I am very positive. It is also good to note the campaign did get a lot of mentions given the review was primarily about campaign medals, including our ideas re costs, so well done chaps.
I notice also that one of the witnesses was a Donald Anderson from the NZ Defence Force Medals Policy, was also interviewed which is a positive move for us.
Whilst Sir John, also says serving and senior MoD personnel were not won over by our cause, this should not come as a surprise, as the chances of anyone currently serving, or the senior officers who inhabit main building leaving the service without at least one medal, is as likely as the Rev Ian Paisley becoming the next Pope, so they are in no position whatso ever to be in a position to know what it is like to be on a rememberance parade and only have a UKAFVB to show for your service. Very well done to all who have been involved, and especially well done to Tony, Terry, our patron Arnold, and Charles for sitting infront of Sir John and so obviously giving a brilliant submission.
Reply David John CRACKNELL
2:43 AM on July 18, 2012 
This inching along the plank is painful but at least we are moving.........
and most importantly being listened to
Well done Terry Tony Charles and all who have cajoled written, emailed and met up with those with influence
The fights not done but we can hold our heads up

Whats the plan now?? Wait or keep on prodding?
Reply Dave
5:32 AM on July 18, 2012 
I was neither particularly pleased, nor surprised, after reading the report.

Sure it has some hopeful aspects - especially concerning the NDM (and by hopeful I mean not rejecting it out of hand) , but in other areas I was sadly disappointed.

He seems to be happy to retain the status quo; such as the arbitrary five year rule. The way I read it, aside from changing the membership of the HD committee (which I do support), and tinkering around the edges of the application of some of the rules, he does not seem to be recommending anything revolutionary. Pity.
Reply John Proffitt
5:58 AM on July 18, 2012 
Medal Review Report:
There was no surprises in independant medal review and Sir John Holmes followed a safe approach by acknowledging that our veterans have a genuine cause. His recommendation to the Prime Minister is for a Cabinet led working group to look at the merits of the NDM. Our veterans came to the conclusion of it's merits years ago when they served their nation. It is now hoped there will be no fudging or delaying this by another titled working group. The information regarding the way other countries have awarded a similar medal have already been provided in the submissions in this medal review.
Hundreds of MP's have already supported that it is instituted so the recommendation of a UK NDM needs to be accepted by the Prime Minister and for him to ask HM to approve it immediately. This is an opportunity for the UK to have their own exclusive UK NDM and for it to be acknowledged as a 'Military Medal' for those who served in HM Armed Forces since 1945.
Reply When I Was...
6:45 AM on July 18, 2012 
Another step on a long, long road. When you consider where the NDM campaign stands now compared to a year ago then considerable progress has been made but there is yet more hard graft to do. Upon examining what the review's TORs actually were then the substantial consideration of the NDM is a small victory in itself. I welcome the fact that Sir John has separated the NDM from wider medallic issues as it will reduce the ability of the MOD to conflate and obfuscate as has appeared to be their general tactic.

If I may presume to offer some thoughts as to the way ahead:

1. The next step is a Cabinet Office-led working group, firmly in the political sphere. Re-energise existing political support (EDM, Lib Dem conference motion) in order to shape the working groups composition, TORs etc. Who will chair it? Who will be on it? What will be its remit? What submissions will it hear? When will it report? All issues which can be shaped. Are there any Cabinet Office ministers who support the EDM or the conference motion? If so, press them on ensuring their support continues and utilise them in order to influence the working group's direction of travel.

2. Cost and perception of cost cannot be ignored. Go to industry and if possible obtain 3 different quotes for production costs. The recent QDJM contract with Worcestershire Medal Services would be a good starting point. Separate the cost of production and the cost of administration/distribution, rebut as early as possible the argument ref the excessive expense of production and then the issue of the cost of admin and distribution can be considered at greater length at a later date.

3. The substantive nature of the argument (ie the Australian/New Zealand examples then looking at the British context) will be considered in the working group, NDM campaigners must do as much as they can to rebut the arguments that the MOD will doubtless make. I'd request that the MOD ask (or survey) serving personnel as to their opinion on the NDM, current thought suggests that there is little support but what substantive, quantified survey has been undertaken to reach that conclusion? In parallel I'd refresh any survey data currently held by campainers from ex-service and veterans organisation in order to better present the facts. Can definitive statements such as "x per cent of members of y organisation support the introduction of the NDM" be made? If not, why not? If it can't or hasn't been quantified then it isn't a fact.

Progress yes, plenty more to do.

WIW
Reply National Defence Medal
7:00 AM on July 18, 2012 
WIW, many thanks for the constructive feedback, we will certainly be ensuring the case is watertight, and view it from every possible angle. Please keep the suggestions to improve our case coming in.
Reply Martin (Bunting Tosser RN)
2:54 PM on July 18, 2012 
One more step towards the goal. Well done to all who have participated and especially the founders of the campaign
Reply David John CRACKNELL
2:58 PM on July 18, 2012 
martin.keats@Sky.com says...
One more step towards the goal. Well done to all who have participated and especially the founders of the campaign


You can say that again Martin.........
Reply Hippo
7:53 PM on July 18, 2012 
Good stuff WIW, I think my concern is that although the report has made recommendations, who is going to pick them up and make it happen, who is going to police it?

You are right, it has been a long road and certainly some huge obstacles in the way, but we have a road map now and a clear view of the top of the hill. just got to watch out for potholes and MOD traffic lights stuck on red!!

My congratulations to the team, I'm sure that all the effort taken to fight this first major challenge will spark the determination further, just got to keep focussed knowing that we are all supporting and willing to help.
Reply Dave
7:23 AM on July 19, 2012 
Shame after so much hard work the Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals are there but the Silver Jubilee has ceased to exist. Perhaps there was not enough "Risk and Rigour" to go round...
Reply Lilywhite
3:47 PM on July 19, 2012 
With regard to cost- When the state issues a mounted medal it is mounted in the 'Swing' style then boxed etc... Many recipients of an NDM will, upon receipt of their medal, immediately send it off to a medal mounter to either mount it in the increasingly more popular 'Court' style or have it mounted with their other medal(s) as a group. Why then bother issuing a mounted and boxed medal? Even the supply of ribbon is unecessary as the medal mounter wil provide all that in a relativey inexpensive service. Effectively all you need to receive is the metal disc/suspender part.
Recipients are in two clear catagories: those serving and veterans. Those serving can be dealt with by their unit admin but for veterans could I offer the following suggestion-
If they make the application process a physical one, i.e. writing in, they could make you include a stamped (with a predetermined postage), addressed 'Jiffy' type envelope with your proof of service- for its return postage to you, into which they could pop the metal part of your medal and let you have it mounted as suits you.
This approach would satisfy both the state awarding you your medal free of charge (at the lowest possible cost to the public purse) and get you your medal.
Reply John Proffitt
5:01 PM on July 19, 2012 
Feedback previously provided for line in the sand:-
Delete: 5 year rule.
Add: 1 year. Those who served any period in HM Armed Forces who completed training. (This allows for those who did national service or for any period of service in emergency crisis situations. Or, those unable to continue their service through no fault of their own i.e. unit disbanding,suffered serious harm during service)
Reply Col Powie
7:47 AM on July 20, 2012 
John I agree with your last post, once out of training you are expected to perform as part of the force you are sent to. I am not sure what length of time other services training lasted, but I do know that the day I left training I spent it travelling on trains from Plymouth to Rosyth in Scotland the next moring we set sail in heavy seas and headed towards the artic circle, as I have said in a previous post my contribution in year terms which I completed beyond the time I signed up for was small in comparison to others, however it included my ship coming under fire and been hit by friendly fire, I think it would be hard to measure years against risk, rigour or any other factors that need to take into account that we all trained, stood ready and willing to defend.
On Remberance Sunday after the service in my town I join Veterans from all the services who are around my age some have medals some don't, no one is humbled or their contribution seen as less valuable as we all trained and accepted what ever was to come, however to some onlookers that may not appear to be the case. I think for many of us it is simply about recognition beyond a Veterans badge.
Reply Robert Law
11:42 AM on July 20, 2012 
Col Powie says...
John I agree with your last post, once out of training you are expected to perform as part of the force you are sent to. I am not sure what length of time other services training lasted, but I do know that the day I left training I spent it travelling on trains from Plymouth to Rosyth in Scotland the next moring we set sail in heavy seas and headed towards the artic circle, as I have said in a previous post my contribution in year terms which I completed beyond the time I signed up for was small in comparison to others, however it included my ship coming under fire and been hit by friendly fire, I think it would be hard to measure years against risk, rigour or any other factors that need to take into account that we all trained, stood ready and willing to defend.
On Remberance Sunday after the service in my town I join Veterans from all the services who are around my age some have medals some don't, no one is humbled or their contribution seen as less valuable as we all trained and accepted what ever was to come, however to some onlookers that may not appear to be the case. I think for many of us it is simply about recognition beyond a Veterans badge.


Unfortunately it's also very much about public perception, Colin. Someone with 5 years service and a Jubilee Medal standing next to someone without any medal, but many more years service perhaps, is 'something' in the public eye. A Veteran's Badge doesn't cut it. I totally agree with you.

Time to start screaming at anyone with influence in political or public life to achieve the broad support that the review said was required.

Possibly the biggest effort is required now, but the way forward to achieving what we want is set out for the very first time. Good luck all and a special thanks to the Campaign Team for a presentation that has influenced the whole review from top to bottom!
Reply John Proffitt
7:25 PM on July 21, 2012 
Col Powie:
Yes thats how our veterans see it especially those who did National Service and those involved in support roles of campaigns for short periods. There was many instances were our forces were involved and required to defend in support of our Allies campaigns and wars that our Army,navy and Air Force took part. There is a whole list of these as you are aware.

I see this an important part of the submissions to the review and a change most expected the Independant Review to deliver on in the form of a recommendation. I think there is still an opportunity with this and ask our campaign representatives to take this up in the next stage
Reply Vic Hocking
1:07 PM on July 31, 2012 
Well lads and lassies, it has not been thrown out ... LETS KEEPON PUSHING !!!!
Reply When I Was...
12:01 PM on October 5, 2012 
At work yesterday I was talking to our new SNCO, who is ex-NZDF and we got to talking about a wide range of similarities and differences between the British and NZ military. One of the things he commented on (once he'd stopped bantering me on England's chances of beating the All Blacks!) was how proud his dad had been to receive his NZDSM and how chuffed he would be when his own was issued. One of my fellow officers is ex-ADF and has the ADM so on a roll I asked him for his opinion and he said he saw it as a "well-done" for all of his years of service, especially pre-East Timor in 1999.

It was quite informative to sit and discuss how their respective Commonwealth countries had chosen to recognise their service. Whilst not yet sufficient to convince me of the need for a UK NDM it has certainly given me more food for thought, especially as we do so close in tems of history, military custom and tradition. I'm in the rare position (for me) of starting to see a possible change in my opinion - whereas I was previously anti-NDM I'd say I'm currently shifting towards neutrality, what next!
Reply National Defence Medal
12:44 PM on October 5, 2012 
WIW - that is encouraging to hear. I've often found that there is an immediate reticence, and it does take a face to face chat before people get past their preconceptions. The NDM does not set any precedent, it does not set us on a road to ruin. It merely fills a gap that should never have been allowed to emerge. Right back when the first commemoratives started to appear was the time for action. The Australians quickly got to grips, but the UK just buried it?s head.

I think Sir John also needed to hear us tell him why, it was a very strong message when an 80 year old veteran of post armistice Korea told him how it made him feel. All those nations he served alongside, in very poor conditions, have received thanks and recognition, but only the UK continues to ignore them. It is about time we say thanks properly, and it is such an easy thing to do if there is a will.
Reply John Proffitt
5:18 PM on October 5, 2012 
WIW
That is great.
My son also served with NZDF and has been awarded the (NZDSF) medal. Yes, there are similarities and close ties with the UK militiary in NZ and Aus. One thing that is very relevant is once an oath or affirmation and training takes place, those service persons are all part of a defence forces ready to defend their country and their allies in times of crisis and emergency.

On my enlistment with UK Armed Forces during the Cold War years I was under no illusion I was part of the military who were tasked with defending the country.

I look forward one day to the UK having their own UK NDM that awards all those who served at any time in HM Armed Forces since 1945.