Time to fill the gap?

April 2001, Volume 39 No. 4
IN the usually uncontroversial world of medal collecting there are two subjects that always seem to rouse passions - the wearing, indeed existence, of the unofficial "commemorative" medals and the non-award, indeed non-existence, of a medal where one would have been expected. Often these two subjects are naturally and intrinsically linked with the unofficial medals serving to fill a "gap" in the market and although it isn't always easy to see what that market is or where there might be a gap (as perfectly demonstrated by a recent addition to this burgeoning genre - the "Cold War Victory" Medal with clasps such as Defence of NATO!) there are cases where the appearance of such a medal can be seen to be, if not justified, then certainly understandable. It is not difficult to see why those who fought on D-Day and the weeks afterwards feel they deserved recognition for that campaign as it might have been given in clasp form in Victorian times or why the millions who did National Service believe their years should be recognised as they are for "regulars" and nowhere are such feelings more evident than with the Suez Campaign of 1951-54 and the plethora of commemoratives that have recently become available to veterans of the Canal Zone.


For many years now there has been an increasing interest in, and vocal support of, a medal for this Emergency especially since smaller actions have been awarded either their own medal (as in the case of Rhodesia) or a clasp on the General Service Medal; Suez veterans received neither and the anomaly is obvious to anyone who cares to look. True there are now a host of the "unofficial" medals that veterans can apply for, and many have, but they lack one crucial element, and it is that, the element of official recognition, that is so eagerly fought for despite what seems to be, even now fifty years on, a quite baffling stubbornness on the part of officialdom..


Although almost exclusively political rather than practical the reasons behind the Suez medal, or lack of it, are not quite as simple as not wishing to offend the Egyptian Government (although that undoubtedly played a significant part at the time and probably still does) and in his article this month Cyril Blackburn takes a closer look at the "Campaign" and the reasons why no medal or clasp has ever been issued for it. Also in this issue we print just a small selection of letters from readers, many of whom are veterans of Suez, all of which have been written in wholehearted support of the campaign to finally award a medal for that action. At their heart all of these letters ask the same question as the article "Why no medal?". This is a question we cannot answer and whilst, in the interests of editorial impartiality, we will print any letters we receive campaigning against such an official medal or GSM clasp, or indeed any letters categorically stating why no medal should be awarded, we cannot see ourselves receiving too many of them!

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In This Issue

INSIGHT11
A veteran's view by John Mulholland
World War I decorations and medals
UPDATE14
Suez 1951-54-why no medal? by Cyril Blackburn
The argument for a medal for Suez
CASEBOOK16
A veteran of the Peninsular War by A. J. Henderson
Checking the records
PROFILE19
A soldier and a policeman by A. G. Moore
A life of long service
FEATURE ARTICLE23
Triumph of the spirit by Jim Grant
The Black Hawk disaster
BADGES26
Badges of the Suffolk Regiment by Philip J. Haythornthwaite
A long tradition
SPOTLIGHT28
The Waterloo Medal by John Sly
Was it routinely issued to next-of-kin?
COLLECTOR'S NOTEBOOK31
The KRRC in Egypt and the Sudan by Irvin L Mortenson
Medal and clasp entitlements 1882-86
NOTEBOOK32
Often undervalued by Bill Green
The British Empire Medal

Regulars

THE EDITORIAL PAGE5
NEWS & VIEWS7
BOOKSHELF35
MEDAL TRACKER36
READERS' LETTERS38
ON PARADE39
CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING40
DEALERS' LISTS43
CALENDAR45