Hot shots in Gibraltar | Silver Coins

Hot shots in Gibraltar

Decision time

Recent press stories have when once again brought the concern of each the Arctic Convoys and foreign medals provided to British Servicemen to the fore. The most recent fuel added to these long burning fires has come from the Russians who, earlier this year, announced their desire to award surviving veterans of the Arctic Convoys the Ushakov Medal, a military award for courage originally instituted in 1944 and retained by the current Government of the Russian Federation. The medal has, apparently, already been accepted by the governments of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand but the Foreign and Commonwealth workplace in the UK has decided that our Veterans will not be in a position to accept the award. Now I have to admit to being somewhat confused by this as the press release sent to us by the Conservative Close friends of Russia, who are spearheading a campaign to have this ruling overturned, and the internet site of the Russian Embassy in the UK both refer to the UK Government not allowing Veterans to accept the medal, now contact me pedantic but surely the remaining veterans could be presented with the decorations as gifts could they not? What is to cease the Russians merely handing them over as a mark of gratitude? The Government surely cannot get involved with that aspect of things—can they? Is a Government Official truly going to tell a 90-yearold veteran that he isn’t allowed to physically personal such a present? I doubt it. Wearing such an award is, of course, yet another matter, there are, necessarily, strict rules concerning the wearing of foreign awards, as well as the “unofficial” ones that abound and in this matter the Government is simply adhering to those guidelines, in specific these in regard to a foreign award not getting offered exactly where a British one already exists and the “five year rule” which states that an award must be made inside 5 years of an action taking place.

Now on the surface these rules make sense, retrospective awards, British or foreign, could lead to all sorts of difficulties and as I have touched upon prior to, could lead to vast discrepancies in medal groups awarded for identical service sadly although there are quite a few circumstances exactly where these rules have been fully disregarded and this is only adding to the Arctic Veterans’ consternation. Personally I am not a fan of retrospective awards, no matter whether brand new medals or existing medals given out lengthy right after the event—my reasoning behind this is basic, there have to be guidelines laid down, if there aren’t then chaos ensues and nobody truly knows who is entitled to what—on leading of that who am I, or you, or anybody who wasn’t there to say which group ought to be awarded a “special” medal and which shouldn’t? If we award a medal to those in the Arctic Convoys then those in Bomber Command certainly have to have 1 too, and if them then why not the Normandy Veterans? And if you say yes to them where do you draw the line? Do you have 1 medal for these who went into the beaches on June six and another for those who went in a month later? And if that happens what about those who went in in the very first wave when casualties have been 80 per cent compared to those who went in later when casualties have been reasonably low? To place it bluntly we basically cannot start off choosing apart the battles and missions of World War II and start off saying that a single group of folks was braver/faced more hardships than yet another. I fully sympathise with these campaigning for such new awards but I worry need to they in fact be effective then we will discover every veterans group attractive to have their case hear and need to each and every get their own “special” medal then we will be back to square one particular with the original campaigners claiming they ought to be offered even far more recognition and so on ad infinitum. With foreign awards the circumstance is slightly various, but again there has to be a line drawn somewhere and in this specific case it must be remembered that a Russian award has already been provided to Arctic veterans—the 40th Anniversary medal (MYB 203A) is a Soviet award that British veterans can put on alongside their British Medals. That mentioned I am truly in favour of the Ushakov Medal becoming given to, and worn by, our veterans. Why? Very simply because there is precedence for this sort of thing—the French gave the Legion d’honneur to surviving World War I veterans back in 1998 and a lot more lately the Malaysian Government introduced the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal for veterans of the Malay Emergency and that now can be worn by the Britons who served. The fact is that awards such as the Ushakov Medal have been produced to, and worn by, British veterans for years—despite the rules getting in place to stop them, the identical guidelines that are becoming bandied about now. The rules, it seems, get bent this way at that depending on the mood of the time, and it is no wonder that the Arctic Convoy Veterans, a lot of of whom have currently been told they will getting the award, are furious. As I’ve stated I’m not a fan of retrospective awards, nor a fan of foreign awards becoming dished out for the same issue time soon after time, even so, I am significantly less of a fan of bureaucrats who make guidelines then adhere to them only half the time. It is about time the powers that be made a decision after and for all—either say totally NO to new retrospective medals, be they British or foreign, or enable them all. The time has come to quit messing about and prevaricating. Either enable the veterans their medals or adhere to the guidelines effectively, and forever, and tell them they have no likelihood of getting profitable in their campaign. All this pussy footing about is not performing anybody any excellent.
Token Publishing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *