§ 45. Mr. Spence
asked the Prime Minister if he will authorise the issue of an appropriate clasp on the 1939–45 Star recognising the Dunkirk action.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)
I have been asked to reply.
No, Sir. Although the normal time qualification for the 1939–45 Star was six months, this was waived in favour of men who took part in the operations in France and Belgium between the 10th of May and the 19th of June, 1940.
§ Mr. Spence
May I ask my right hon. Friend to convey to the Prime Minister the sense of disappointment that his answer will bring to many people?
§ Mr. Butler
I will certainly convey my hon. Friend's sentiments, but I would remind him that a previous Prime Minister, Lord Attlee, felt constrained to reply in a similar sense to the question as long as eleven years ago. This matter has been very carefully considered from time to time, and I do not think that my hon. Friend will be able to alter his mind.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the formations which took part in that campaign took the full force of the first attack during the war and that many of those who took part were volunteers? Is he aware that they feel that less than justice has been done? They have no appropriate recognition compared with others who later spent a short time in the back areas or in the N.A.A.F.I. but qualified equally.
§ Mr. Butler
If there had been special recognition in respect of Dunkirk, for example, it would have been difficult not to recognise other operations which, although they may not have the same emotional or historical significance, were in themselves very important, and some of them, such as the campaigns in Dieppe and Norway, were themselves already included in the conferment of the Star.