The United Kingdom National Defence Medal (NDM) is a proposal to the UK Government to recognise and honour military service wherever undertaken from 1945 onwards. For those who do not have a medal and feel inadequate next to today's soldiers who have a serious rack of operational ones.
The NDM should not be confused with the 1939-1945 Defence Medal, a campaign medal. The Medal, if adopted, would be awarded to all who served in the military for a certain amount of time and meeting certain criteria. The UK Government has been against such a medal and instead promotes the Veterans Badge.
The proposal evolved from an initial call from National Servicemen for a National Service Medal (NSM). The UK Government has never been in favour of a National Service Medalas it would have been seen as unfair to Regular Service Personnel. Eventually The Royal British Legion sponsored the National Service Medal. However this is an unofficial Medal. Some argue that it actually undermined the campaign for official recognition. The argument has now moved on for an all inclusive award, the NDM. Indeed the largest official body representing National Servicemen has recently come out in support of the NDM changinging from their previous position calling for the NSM. Alan Tizzard (Chair & National Secretary) said “The National Service Veterans Alliance, support the Campaign for a UK National Defence Medal (NDM) for all service personnel Conscripted and Volunteer. The smaller though no less significant National Service Veterans Association also now supports the NDM.
The Australian Defence Medal is held up as the model for consideration. The Government of Australia withdrew from the Imperial Honours System in the mid 1970s’. As a result they are wholly responsible for any new medals that they wish to introduce. However Her Majesty The Queen as Queen of Australia has approved the Medal, this is widely viewed as an indicator that a similar award for the UK would be appropriate. The British Government state it is under no obligation to follow suit, but veterans feel it should not be an obligation rather a desire to recognise which should influence the decision.
Other countries, including NATO, EU and the British Commonwealth, the military in the broadest sense, are respected. They are accorded the grateful thanks of their respective nations including national honours and awards to commemorate and mark individual selfless service. An immediate example is France, who under Minister for Defence, Charles Hernu, and on the proposal of Gen.de Boissieu, instituted the Medaille de la Defence Nationale for Servicemen, National Servicemen, reservists and civilians killed or wounded on national duty. Interestingly men of all nationalities who serve in ‘La Legion etrangere’ are entitled to this medal.
With the exception of long service awards, it has never been the UK Government's policy to consider service in the Armed Forces as the sole justification for the institution of a medal. However the introduction of the Armed Forces Veterans Badge a few years ago was considered an appropriate way for veterans to demonstrate that they had served their country as members of the Armed Forces and the lapel badge was considered to be more discreet and adaptable for daily wear than a medal. The lapel badge as such is not a replacement for a medal because its intended use is quite different. The NDM is to wear officially on parade, in this context the lapel badge is viewed as a rather cheap and impersonal political gesture lacking the visibility and respect of a medal.
The work various veterans agencies are undertaking to change the current government stance is ongoing. It is clear that pressure on politicians and particularly the MOD will be the key to effect a change for the National Defence Medal proposal to become a reality.
HD Committeeinsists policy responsibility for the possible introduction of a National Defence Medal rests solely with the Ministry of Defence, according to Denis Brennan the Ceremonial Secretariat. Though the MOD had previously stated the HD Committee were the decision makers.
Mr. Arnold Schwartzman, O.B.E., R.D.I., has recently agreed to become Patron of the NATIONAL DEFENCE MEDAL CAMPAIGN. London born Mr. Schwartzman, during his National Service, served with 1st. Battalion The Royal Sussex Regiment in Minden, Germany and then Korea in 1956–1957. He now lives in Hollywood, California, where he pursues his career as a film maker and graphic designer. In 1982 he won an Oscar as the producer and director of the Best Documentary feature film “Genocide”. He is a governor and past chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles, and past chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences documentary executive committee.
Terry Scriven is a former Colonel in the Royal Military Police, a graduate of the National Police Staff College Strategic Command Course, a security consultant, and a former City and Guilds National Chief Verifier for all Security related National Vocational qualifications in England and Wales. His background has provided him with a wealth of experience and depth of knowledge in dealing with crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. He now has a Master of Science degree from Leicester University.
Terry was selected to be the Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council from 2004 to April 2008 and has worked hard to improve the post 16 educational opportunities in the New Forest. He is also a member of the New Forest Association, which is concerned with conservancy of the Forest and a member of the Hampshire NHS Partnership Trust concerned in dealing with mental health.
Terry continues to support the Armed Services as the National Chairman of the Liberal Democrats Friends’ of the Armed Forces, as a voluntary welfare caseworker for the New Forest branch of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help and as a member of his local Royal British Legion branch. He has recently taken up a post as Co-chairman of the National Defence Medal Campaign team.
To commission a National Defence Medal for all HM Forces who serve a reasonable engagement. A common, equal and fair service award.
The Veterans Recognition Report was commissioned by the NDM campaign team to highlight the reasons why such a medal is appropriate for HM Forces. It details several case studies as well as unpicking the rather flawed arguments put forward by the MoD. It was presented to 10 Downing Street on 10th June 2009.