Veterans who have served with the armed forces are being encouraged by Kirkcaldy MP Gordon Brown to apply for the HM Forces Veterans Badge.
The call comes as the nation prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One and the eligibility for the award has been extended to include anyone who has served in the forces.
Mr Brown said: “As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War we are seeking to make sure that every person who has served in the Armed Forces is awarded the Armed Forces Veterans Badge and thanked for their magnificent service to our country.
“There are still many veterans who have not received the medals to which they are entitled and by far the largest group is those who were in the Armed Forces during World War Two.
“This includes service with the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Merchant Navy, as Bevin Boys or as part of the Women’s Land Army.
“Claims for medals for service in the Home Guard can also be made.
“War widows and widowers are also eligible if they are in receipt of a war widow or widower’s pension.
“In recognition of the great achievement of so many, we are planning to hold a ceremony in our constituency to award the medals and invite people to come together to thank all who enlisted for service to their country.
“In my time in Government I was instrumental in making funds available so that an Armed Services Medal could be struck, manufactured and then awarded.
“At various times in recent years we have held ceremonies around the country to make sure that people who must never be forgotten for their valiant service are properly remembered for the contribution they have made and the dedication they have shown.
“Already I have awarded hundreds of medals in this constituency and throughout Fife and I have had the great pleasure of attending these ceremonies in the last few years.
“Now we are in a position to remember all who have served and award medals to them.”
To apply for the HM Forces Veterans Badge a form is required to be completed. The form is available from Gordon Brown MP’s office by calling (01592) 263792 or by downloading it from the Ministry of Defence website at www.veterans-uk.info/vets_badge/vets_badge.htm.
Completed forms can be returned to Mr Brown’s constituency office at Carlyle House, Carlyle Road, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1DB and they will be submitted on the veterans’ behalf.
Mr Brown added: “I will submit it on your behalf and invite you to a small ceremony to make sure that you and your families are suitably rewarded for the service that you have made.
“We will hold the ceremony to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
“I therefore urge anyone who is eligible and has not yet received a badge to come forward.
“I also hope that relatives and friends will remind our heroes that this award is now available and will make sure an early application is made.”
All those who have served in HM Armed Forces, including Volunteer and Regular Reserves.
Exceptions are those veterans who served in Armed Forces of other countries and those who served alongside HM Armed Forces are not eligible (e.g. Canadian Navy or Royal Australian Air Force).
The badge is a survivors badge and therefore is not issued posthumously. The only exception is for War Widows and Widowers who are in receipt of a War Widows/Widowers Pension paid by the Ministry of Defence. This also includes those who have received an award of Survivors Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP) under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. This is in recognition of the fact that their death was due to their military service.
Raising profile of veterans
The HM Armed Forces Veterans Badge was launched in May 2004 by the then Minister for Veterans, to raise the profile of veterans by assisting the wider public to recognise them. The first Veterans Badge was issued to Lord Healey, a veteran of the Battle for Monte Cassino, on 10 May 2004, which initiated the roll out of the badge to the generation who served in the Second World War. Since then eligibility to apply for the badge has been extended in sequential phases and now all veterans are eligible to apply.
The badge is an enamelled, engraved, and pinned, lapel badge featuring the words “HM Armed Forces – Veteran”, which encompass the Tri-Service, Anchor, Crossed Swords and Eagle motif. Its symbolism is intended to unite all veterans in recognising the commonality of their service, to encourage a sense of unity and community between surviving veterans and to ignite public recognition of our veterans and their continuing contribution to society.