HC Deb 22 September 1943 vol 392 cc260-1W
Mr. Jackson

asked the Prime Minister whether he can arrange for some suitable honour to be awarded to members of the Women's Land Army for meritorious service?

Mr. Linstead

asked the Prime Minister whether service in West Africa will qualify for the award of the 1939–1943 Star?

Lieut.-Colonel Macnamara

asked the Prime Minister (1) in view of the fact that chevrons will not be worn after the war and cannot be worn in civilian clothes, what permanent Star or recognition is to be given to the sailors, soldiers and airmen, including anti-aircraft gunners and those who manned the coasts of Britain, who, through no fault of their own, were kept in the British Isles and who were told during the invasion periods that the defence of Britain was the most important duty of the war: and whether he will recommend that some such Star be given now similar to the 1939–43 Star:

(2) whether he will recommend the issue of a medal to Territorials who were serving when war broke out, and who have been serving since, as was done in the last war, when either the 1914–15 Star or a special medal was issued: and whether he is aware, as chevrons will not be worn on uniforms after the war and cannot be worn with civilian clothes, that there is at present no recognition of Territorials in this war in spite of the appeals and calls made to them in peace-time?

(3) whether he will recommend the award of a star on the lines of the 1939–43 Star to include all sailors, soldiers and airmen who helped to defend Britain during the critical times, amongst others the anti-aircraft gunners, the divisions who manned coast and other defences and who were constantly in action against low-flying attack, the Canadians who were sent to help in the defence of Britain and the British troops and airmen who were sent to India at a time when there was every possibility of a Japanese invasion of that country had they not been there?

Mr. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister whether, when contemplating any extension of the award of the 1939–43 Star, he will bear in mind the claims of bomb-disposal units, many of which have suffered heavy casualties on service in this country?

The Prime Minister

I would refer my hon. Friends to the reply which I have already given to-day on this subject. Members of the Women's Land Army are eligible for civil honours and existing arrangements include the issue of badges for length of service: a badge for proficiency is also shortly to be instituted, and these awards do not, in my judgment, require to be supplemented. Service in West Africa will not qualify for the 1939–43 Star, with the exception that aircrews engaged in operations against the enemy from West Africa will count such service towards the qualifying period. Chevrons may certainly be worn in plain clothes. Army and Air Force service in India is to be recognised by inclusion in the award of chevrons for war service and of wound stripes, and service in operations will count towards the qualifying period for the 1939–43 Star.