Royal Bermuda Regiment fighting to get soldiers their medals
About 40 Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers are waiting to receive medals they are entitled to from the United Kingdom government.
The RBR is working to resolve the issue to ensure that soldiers in overseas territories, including Bermuda, receive the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal or Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ben Beasley, the RBR commanding officer, explained: “The British Overseas Territories Forces were/are eligible for the medals formerly given to the Reserve Forces (Territorial Army).
“However, with the introduction of, and switch to the Voluntary Reserve Service Medal in 1999, the Overseas Territories were not included as being eligible.”
He added: “This was not noticed until the RBR applied for the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal and Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal in 2020, switching from the outdated Territorial Medal.
“Covid put a freeze on most activity through 2020. This was revisited last year when the real disconnect was noticed and the situation was being reviewed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.”
Last month, UK peer Lord Lancaster of Kimbolton, raised the question of whether volunteer reserves serving in the Royal Bermuda Regiment were entitled to qualify for the medals.
Leiutenant-Colonel Beasley said: “Brigadier Lord Lancaster is the Honorary Colonel for the Cayman Islands Regiment and a former Minister for Armed Forces so he was able to use his position to highlight the matter.”
The full list includes the RBR, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, the Cayman Islands Regiment, the Turks and Caicos Regiment, the Falkland Islands Defence Force and the Royal Montserrat Defence Force.
The Volunteer Reserves Service Medal is awarded after ten years on Reserve Strength (part-time staff), while the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medals is a medal recognising exceptional service by a reserve.
Leiutenant-Colonel Beasley added: “Having recently returned from meetings in London with the FCDO and Ministry of Defence, there is genuine support for the BOT Forces and a drive to ensure that our valuable service is recognised in concert with our UK counterparts.”