HC Deb 10 February 1947 vol 433 cc22-3
45. Commander Pursey

asked the Prime Minister whether any recognition is contemplated for members of His Majesty's Forces who have been engaged in hazardous service in the Netherlands East Indies, minesweeping and bomb clearance since the cessation of hostilities in the Second World War.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

Yes, Sir. His Majesty has approved proposals that a medal should be granted for specified service in Java, Sumatra and French Indo-China, and also for Air Force service up to 4th October, 1945, in the removal of internees and prisoners of war in South-East Asia to Singapore or other ports for onward shipment. The medals to be given will be the Naval General Service Medal instituted in 1915 or the General Service Medal (Army and Royal Air Force) instituted in 1918, as may be appropriate. Both will be awarded with the Clasp "South-East Asia, 1945–46." Owing to the hazardous nature of minesweeping duties the Naval General Service Medal is to be granted for such service since the cessation of hostilities, and the General Service Medal (Army and Royal Air Force) is to be given for bomb and mine clearance work ashore. The Clasps "Minesweeping, 1945–47"and "Bomb and Mine Clearance, 1945–48"will be awarded.

It has been decided that Mentions in Despatches granted for service since 2nd September, 1945, shall be accompanied by the award of the single bronze oak leaf Emblem of the type granted during the recent war. At the same time, approval has been given for the wearing of this Emblem by those who were granted mentions in despatches for operational service between the two world wars, for instance, in Waziristan (1921–24) and Burma (1930–32).

A short White Paper dealing with these matters is available in the Vote Office.

Commander Pursey

Is the Prime Minister aware that this announcement will be greatly appreciated by the personnel of the Services who have had to perform these duties under especially difficult conditions?

Lieut. Commander Gurney Braithwaite

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what period of service is necessary to qualify for this minesweeping decoration? Is it the same as during the war—six months?

The Prime Minister

Perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman will look at the White Paper for details.