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Government wrong to veto Bill’s medal
PUBLIC opinion forced the Prime Minister to abandon the bureaucratic nonsense of limiting the number of awards of the Order of the British Empire to our Olympic and Paralympic champions.
In this vein, the decision not to allow Arctic Convey servicemen such as Bill Sunderland to accept Russia’s Ushakov Medal on the grounds that they are already holders of Britain’s Atlantic Star should also be overturned.
Just to prove a point, if they haven’t already got it, perhaps they, as ex-servicemen, should apply for the USSR 40th Anniversary Medal, sanctioned by the Queen in 1994.
If “double medalling” is not allowed why then, in the last decade, have survivors of the Great War been allowed to accept and wear the French Legion d’honneur? Why are First Gulf War veterans allowed to wear Britain’s Gulf Medal plus the Saudi Arabian Medal for the Liberation of Kuwait?
Other nations do allow dual medals. An irritation among British Forces serving in Afghanistan is that they receive the Operational Service Medal with the Afghanistan Bar but cannot wear the NATO ISAF Service Medal – unlike Australian Forces.
I fully support your stand on this matter.
Michael Francis Front Street, Acomb, York.
•I WAS happy to see that the Government may have changed its mind about letting Bill Sunderland accept the medal from Russia (The Press, October 24).
However, it raises a question. What right does our Government have to forbid a citizen from accepting anything from another government? What sanction will they impose if he accepts the honour without “permission”? Stop his pension? Make him homeless? Jail him?
Strip him of his citizenship?
The Government is neither our mother nor our nanny, so I would encourage Mr Sunderland to ignore the mandarins and go ahead and accept the recognition that he so richly deserves, with or without the Government’s say-so.
Gideon Visser, Stonegrave, York.
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