To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason veterans whose spouse qualifies for a war pension are not automatically eligible for an Elizabeth cross medal.
22 March 2021
The Government continues to recognise and be grateful to all Service personnel who participated in the British nuclear testing programme, including Mr Eric Denson. They contributed to keeping our nation secure during the Cold War and since, ensuring that the United Kingdom was equipped with an appropriate nuclear capability.
On 16 March 2021, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) advised Mr Denson’s widow of the outcome of her application for the Elizabeth Cross in respect of her late husband.
The delay in providing this response was due to the impact of COVID-19 on the working arrangements of Departmental officials, and, in particular, the ability to access Mr Denson’s Service records from almost fifty years ago, which exist in hard copy only. Mr Denson’s widow was advised that there would be a delay in considering her application.
There is no correlation between being awarded a pension under the War Pension Scheme and the criteria for the Elizabeth Cross. The Elizabeth Cross is granted to the next of kin of Service personnel who have died since 1 January 1948 on medal earning operations, as a result of an act of terrorism or on a non-medal earning operational task where death has been caused by the inherent high risk of the task. A claim considered before 6 April 2005 under the War Pensions Scheme required the award of a pension to be made unless it could be shown beyond reasonable doubt that Service had played no part in an illness or death.