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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 20:40 GMT
Suez veterans' plea for recognition
An image from the Suez Crisis of 1956
The emergency of 1951-54 pre-dated the Suez Crisis
Representatives of Suez veterans met with defence chiefs on Friday to plead for some recognition for their efforts during the 1951-54 emergency.

The veterans have become known as the "Forgotten Army" because of the lack of official credit.

But their representatives met with Whitehall chiefs in the hope they may finally be rewarded.

There may now be a ruling before the end of the year - which means the veterans may have a medal by Christmas.

'Terrible injustice'

The veterans of the emergency in Egypt's canal zone, which preceded the disastrous Suez Crisis of 1956, have previously not been recognised by the government.

Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke, who campaigned for Friday's hearing, said it would be timely to recognise the service personnel in the Queen's Silver Jubilee year.

"Fifty years on and tens of thousands of servicemen who served in dreadful conditions - there were lots of deaths - feel a terrible injustice," she said.

Ms Brooke said the officials had given them a fair hearing but she was "too worried" to be optimistic.

"We have reached the end of the road. There is a trepidation because we all know there will not be another chance," she added.

Medal hopes

The four-year operation was an attempt to keep the Suez Canal open and protect it against terrorist threats.

More than 300 British forces died in the conflict.

The canal was nationalised by the Egyptian government in 1956, prompting the Suez Crisis.

Medals for service are not usually considered five years after an event or conflict has taken place.

But the veterans argue no medal was contemplated at the time so one could be issued now.

Ms Brooke added: "We felt they were giving full consideration to our argument and just hope they agree."

See also:

10 Nov 02 | UK
06 Nov 02 | England
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