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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Queen approves Suez veteran medal
Suez battle
The emergency preceded the 1956 Suez crisis
The Queen has given Royal Assent to issue a general service medal for veterans of the Suez crisis.

An estimated 200,000 British troops served in the canal zone during the 1951-54 emergency and more than 300 were killed.

Campaign medals are not normally awarded more than five years after a conflict.

However, Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged the "special features" of the operation.

"We have been waiting for Royal Assent," a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

"Now we can start to produce these medals and hopefully those eligible could get them in time for the anniversary in November," the MoD spokesman said.

'Forgotten Army'

The Suez emergency began in October 1951 when the Egyptian government unilaterally overturned a 1936 treaty with Britain governing the number of UK troops in the canal zone, triggering an anti-British guerrilla campaign.

The servicemen - sometimes called the "Forgotten Army" - will receive the medal and a new commemorative "clasp."

When Mr Blair announced the awarding of the medals in June, his decision was welcomed by veterans of the conflict and MPs who had campaigned for medals to be issued.



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