Merchant Navy veterans recognised at last

READERS will be pleased to learn of recent progress in veterans affairs and change of qualification criteria for the award of the Merchant Navy Veterans Badge. On January 16, Ivan Cloherty, an ex-cadet from Torquay, and Tony Borges, an ex-chief engineer

READERS will be pleased to learn of recent progress in veterans' affairs and change of qualification criteria for the award of the Merchant Navy Veterans' Badge.

On January 16, Ivan Cloherty, an ex-cadet from Torquay, and Tony Borges, an ex-chief engineer from Colchester, both members of the FMM, joined two other merchant navy veterans and veterans of the armed forces to receive Veterans' Badges from the Minister for Veterans Affairs at the Houses of Parliament. (Two nominated by the FMM, accompanied by me and two from the MNA).

The veterans were presented to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Defence, many other Ministers and MPs and senior officers of the armed forces. This inclusion and recognition for the merchant navy in its own right would not have been possible before our successful campaign just three years ago.

On January 29, Edward Sandle, an ex-radio officer nominated by the Merchant Mariners of Wight, joined other veterans of the merchant navy at the Imperial War Museum, when they were invited to the national launch by the Minister for Veterans Affairs to extend the period of qualification for the award of Merchant Navy Veterans' Badges to January 31 2005. This means that the award of the Merchant Navy Veterans' Badge, like that of the armed forces, will continue to be issued to those fulfilling the criteria.


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Success in the arena of Veterans' Awards is confirmation that we can achieve much more for our merchant maritime traditions of service and the importance of the merchant navy. The award of the Merchant Navy Veterans' Badge could not have been achieved without your readers' support and we all thank you most sincerely for that.

We now have a foot in the door of national inclusion for merchant seafarers, and there can by no resting on laurels, but rather a further resolve and determination is needed to consolidate and develop our progress so far.

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DEREK BRISTOW

The Merchant Mariners

Glebe Road

Brampton

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