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COLD WAR MEDAL UPDATE

Following the refusal of the Government Medal Review team, to fully review the British Cold War Veterans formal submission for a Cold War medal, especially considering that politicians were the recipients of honours and awards exchanged between various countries and alliances for their service and leadership during this period, and promises of a full and comprehensive review, we made a freedom of information request to the Cabinet Office for copies of minutes of meetings to determine who was responsible for making the decision not to review our submission, and the reasons why?

Despite the Cabinet Office being responsible for setting up the process of the Government Medal Review it maintains that it does not hold the required information and has no responsibility for records of the medal review.

Having followed a lengthy process of challenging the Cabinet Office on this matter, it is now in the hands of the Information Commissioner’s Office to consider and to make a decision.

In their latest letter dated 17th June 2016 The Information Commissioner’ Office advises: “The Cabinet Office is arguing that it does not hold the requested information because it is not responsible for the Military Medal Review Team’s records under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Commissioner considers that this might not be the case, and so has asked further questions to assist him in his determination.

Once the second batch of submissions has been received the Commissioner should be able to issue a decision notice for this case.”

The BCWV continues to fight for proper recognition for all those who served in HM Armed Forces during the Cold War and thanks everyone for their support.

AMERICANS STAND BY UK VETERANS

An American Veteran says: “That their service didn’t rate. Read the article; the lack of respect for the men who guarded his freedoms while he was young man is astounding to me as a foreign observer. They do not merit a simple thank you and identity a simple national service medal would provide? I guess not according to a Brown representative.

To all the UK vets who stood watch as our allies during the Cold War you are not forgotten by us here. Keep up the fight and remember this at election time.”

US PRESIDENT ELECT CALLS FOR A COLD WAR MEDAL FOR VETERANS

Barack Obama, the US President Elect has acknowledged that military Veterans should be issued with a medal for service during the Cold War and said: “The Cold War was a period that required both skilled diplomacy and military readiness. For veterans who had to be prepared to fight a war that most people agreed would be catastrophic, there certainly should be some recognition of service and willingness to defend and go to battle for the United States”

Speaking about the process of ensuring recognition is achieved in the USA he continued: “In each of the past two years, the Cold War Victory Medal has passed the House as part of its version of the annual defense authorization bill but has been stymied by influential members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I agree that the Cold War Victory medal would be an appropriate honour and I certainly share the hope that this impasse can be broken soon.”

We ask the British Government to do likewise and rightly honour its Veterans of this period.

WORLD WIDE CALL FOR A COLD WAR MEDAL

The call for a Cold War Medal has now reached global proportions with former service men and women in countries across the world calling for official recognition through the issue of a medal.

Cold War Medals For Our Leaders

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV: USSR. Liberty Medal from the U.S for his role in ending the Cold War, Gorbachev took a tremendous risk in bringing what we knew as the Soviet Union to the point where it is today. It was a dangerous time and it’s hard for a lot of people today to remember what those times were like, how threatening it all was.

LORD ROBERTSON: UK. Presidential Medal of Freedom for his pursuit of the defence of freedom during the period of the cold war and in the establishing of the Russian-NATO Council.

LORD CARRINGTON: UK. Former Defence Secretary, Presidential Medal of Freedom for his leadership of the the UN (General Secretary) during the era of the Cold War. He also received the Medal of Honor for his contribution to investigating Serbian War Crimes.

LADY MARGARET THATCHER: UK. Presidential Medal of Freedom for her resolute defence of the unity of the west and overcoming post war division in Europe – in other words the ‘Cold War’

TONY BLAIR: UK. Presidential Medal of Freedom for the former Prime Minister who has also previously been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal

RONAL REAGAN: USA. Honorary Knighthood
For his leadership during the cold war and services to the UK.

NICOLAE CEAUCESCU: Romania. Honorary Knighthood.
The former Romanian dictator was given an honorary Knighthood by the British government for standing up to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Nobody looked too deeply at his domestic record, or cared, it seems.

VACLAV HAVEL: Czech. US Medal of Freedom
Czech President Vaclav Havel received the US Medal of Freedom for his stance on democracy in his homeland during the Cold War.

HELMUT KOHL: West Germany. US Medal of Freedom
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl received the US Medal of Freedom as the leader of a democratic Germany during the Cold War in which he visited the Soviet Union to seek assurances from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that would eventually enable German reunification.

It has also been widely reported that the end of the Cold War saw a flurry of awards from the UK and US Governments to one another, close ideological friends seemed to be the criteria, with many top officials and civil servants being the beneficiaries (No surprises there then).

Cold War Veterans around the world know all too well how threatening it all was. They were the ones ready and willing to do the fighting (without recognition of any kind), not the ones sat securely in protected bunkers!

Ministry of Defence accept there were risks but say ‘NO’ to Cold War Medal

The Ministry of Defence, Defence Services Secretary; Mr R. T Cooney has acknowledged in a letter dated 28th July 2008 that: “During the ‘Cold War’ years, some military units or formations doubtless experienced incidents or periods of service as a result of activity by Warsaw Pact forces, where their exposure to risk and rigour may have been heightened.”

He continues; “The professionalism and resolve of the British, American and other NATO Armed Forces doubtless played their part in the factors that led to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact Military Alliance.”

Sadly, whilst clearly accepting that Cold War veterans were not only at risk but that their service contributed to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact Military threat, Mr Cooney is keen to add; “However, military activity arising from imperatives of the ‘Cold War’ political posture adopted by the British Government never reached a position where it would have been appropriate to institute a campaign service award.”

If this is the officially adopted position of the British Government, can we now expect Lady Thatcher, Lord Robertson and any other British, or former British Government official to return any awards or medals that they may have received for service during the Cold War?

A POIGNANT REMINDER FROM THE ERA

I SERVED as a Cold War warrior from 1972-84, including six years in Germany, where the invasion of West Berlin was taken as a real threat. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, everything on wheels, tracks and jet powered was mobilised.

For nine months of the year we perfected our craft in the art of radio communications; all traffic was done in real time in all weathers under all conditions, and if you haven’t experienced a German winter at 2am on the Deiester Ridge you do not know what cold is.

All elements of the British Army of the Rhine were ready and willing to repel the Russian bear. When not on exercise we were putting out forest fires and patrolling the inner German border, guarding atomic rocket and warhead sites.

Living in field conditions, eating field rations, burdened with weapons and back packs month after month took its toll, but we did it with a will and solid determination.

Now I’m a civilian I have nothing to show that I served my country. That is why I will stand on the sidelines and applaud the be-medalled warriors who were able to prove themselves under fire – something I never had a chance to do.

The veterans’ badge I wear on my lapel is no substitute for a more tangible symbol of time served as a soldier, defending what’s left of Great Britain. A medal would suffice. –

Tony Levy, Served 1972-84
http://www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/mail_archive/medals.htm

EXTRACT FROM LETTER TO SOLDIER MAGAZINE

Dear Editor,

I’m confused about exactly what can be worn on the official medal line on official parades. The MOD I suppose makes it clear on their website:

The term ‘official’ could be used to describe any medals for which Her Majesty, or her predecessors, has given approval.
So on occasions when Medals are appropriate, I believe only ‘Official’ awards should be worn. Essentially a badge issued by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency falls outside this criteria. But what of the ‘Commemorative’ Queens Golden Jubilee Medal? It was produced for all ex-servicemen and women who served during the 50 year reign and ACCEPTED for use by ‘BUCKINGHAM PALACE’ and approved by SSAFA.
The medal has a portrait of the Queen inspired by Pietro Annigoni’s popular depiction of a youthful, beautiful Queen, painted in 1955, which is now held at Fishmongers Hall. The reverse shows the Queens Armorial Shield and Motto.

I’m informed that it’s design and permission to ‘carry the crown’ as depicted in HM’s Armorial Shield was approved by Buckingham Palace through the Lord Chamberlains Office. It appears to meet the MODs criteria of an ‘Official’ award, and certainly has more substance than the governments (Not Monarchs) Veterans Badge, the medal requiring a minimum of 28 days service as opposed to 1 day for the Veterans badge.

The Veterans badge has NOT followed the awards full due process and is therefore exactly like so much other ‘Bling’. With this in mind the call once again is for all service men and women to be afforded ‘OFFICIAL’ recognition in the form of a Medal, not a New Labour Gimmick in the form of a cheap badge.

Best wishes and kindest regards,

Mr Anthony Morland
http://nationaldefencemedal.webs.com/whoweare.htm

VETERANS BLOW WHISTLE ON MOD SECRETS

A fifty one-page report has blown the whistle on the MoD’s secretive Medal Review. The report by the National Defence Medal which includes the ‘British Cold War Veterans’ provides an insight into current MoD Medal Review process and report, which Prime Minister David Cameron sent back to MoD for failing to consult with veterans.

It outlines how the MoD failed to notify the public of the review’s terms of reference, the date it commenced, the date of completion; the mystic surrounding its progress and failure to engage with veterans, service organisations or representatives of medal campaigns; the very people the review was about were excluded.
BCWV Co-ordinator Andy Davies; “It’s nothing short of a total farce and a two-fingered salute to those who want to overhaul an antiquated and failing system. The MoD have already been accused of wasting huge sums of money on non-existent equipment and now can’t even conduct a fair and objective review in consultation with the very people it was supposed to consider.”

The report shows how subjective statements, displaying a lack of analysis, reliant on misleading, inaccurate facts and false assumptions; produced unsubstantiated conclusions as reasons not to honour our veterans. Just why did MoD officials give a clean bill of health to the existing medal system, which has produced so much injustice in respect of medallic recognition over 60 years?

A spotlight has been shone on the flawed process and discredited Medal Review report. “You will be startled at what you find when you read the report.”, said Tony Morland Co-Chairman of the UK National Defence medal campaign.